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What’s the point? Acupuncture in a nutshell

Acupuncture works to help maintain your body’s equilibrium. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to regulate the flow of ‘qi’, your body’s vital energy.

There are a number of reasons why this energy can be disturbed, lifestyle and environmental reasons, and it can become depleted or blocked and therefore not function properly, which can result in some symptoms of some pain and illness or dis-ease. In certain instances, traditional acupuncture can be an effective therapy to help restore balance and promote physical and emotional harmony.

Treatment is aimed at the root cause of your condition as well as your main symptoms. This approach helps with resolving your problem and enhancing your feeling of wellbeing. You may notice other niggling problems resolve as your main health complaint improves.

Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture is thought to have originated in China and other far eastern cultures over 2,500 years ago where it still plays an important role in mainstream healthcare, both as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with conventional western medicine.

Acupuncture is now widely used and accepted all over the world. In the UK more and more people

are finding out what acupuncture can do for them. There are several organisations that regulate Acupuncture practitioners. Members of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) practise acupuncture based on Chinese medicine principles. The BAcC is one of the largest, currently registers over 3,000 qualified practitioners.

Who has acupuncture?

Many people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or to relieve specific pains. There is a growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture, as practiced by British Acupuncture Council members safely treats a wide range of common health problems including short-term relief of symptoms such as low back pain, tension-type headaches and migraines. It can also be used to help temporarily relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee (along with exercise and conventional medicine). In fact NICE recommends acupuncture for lower back pain, migraines and tension type headaches.

Traditional Acupuncture looks at the whole person, and therefore attracts people who feel generally unwell but have no obvious diagnosis. Others choose acupuncture simply to enhance their feeling of wellbeing. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages including babies and children. It can be used effectively alongside conventional medicine.

What happens when I go for treatment?

The acupuncturist starts by taking a full medical history in order to get a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. They will also use a range of diagnostic techniques such as reading your pulses, and looking at your tongue, in order to get further information. Based on this information, the acupuncturist makes a diagnosis and puts together your personal treatment plan. Acupuncture points are selected according to your symptoms. The single-use sterile needles come in sealed packs, and are safely disposed of after each treatment.

What does it feel like?

Acupuncture needles are much finer than needles used for injections and blood tests. When the needle is inserted you may feel a tingling sensation or dull ache, or you may feel nothing at all. Some of this is dependent on the style of acupuncture being used of which there are many types.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of sessions is entirely dependent on the individual patient and the condition. Your acupuncturist will normally ask to see you once or twice a week at first. Some change is usually felt within five or six treatments, although occasionally just one or two treatments are sufficient.

What can it do for me?

Some people want acupuncture for help with a specific symptom or condition such as knee or back pain, headaches etc. Others may have treatment to help maintain good health, as a preventive measure, or to improve their general sense of wellbeing.

Traditional acupuncture aims to treat the whole person rather than specific symptoms in isolation, so can be effective for a range of conditions.

This approach means that each patient’s treatment plan will be different, as the treatment is individualised to meet each person’s needs. However, you can always ask your practitioner about other patients’ experiences, to give you an idea of what to expect. Many people return to acupuncture again and again because they find it so beneficial and relaxing.

In 2009 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended that acupuncture should be made available on the NHS, as a cost-effective short-term treatment for the management of early, persistent non-specific lower back pain. In 2012 they also recommended Acupuncture for headaches.

You can get more information on current scientific research into the effectiveness of acupuncture by visiting or to Find a practitioner at or contact the British Acupuncture Council on or 020 8735 0400.

Here at the Centre we have three traditional Acupuncturists who are registered with the British Acupuncture Council and as its Acupuncture Awareness Week on 2-8th March if you have any questions or are interested in coming in for a quick chat – we’d love to see or hear from you


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