What are the benefits of regular acupuncture?
If you’re considering having acupuncture for the first time, or you’ve had acupuncture in the past and are trying to decide if it’s worth either continuing with it or picking it up again to address a specific problem or general wellbeing concern, then this article is for you.
Over time acupuncture has become increasingly popular as a treatment to complement clinical healthcare, and there is now a good weight of evidence that supports use of this ancient Chinese medicine both in harness with NHS or private clinical care and as a standalone treatment.
What is acupuncture?
Before we get into how and why acupuncture might be ideally suited to helping you to overcome whatever health issue you’re struggling with, it’s worth just talking a little bit about what acupuncture is and, just as importantly, what it isn’t.
Acupuncture dates back at least two thousand years as a tried and trusted Ancient Chinese treatment that can help either mitigate or resolve a plethora of conditions from musculoskeletal pain and headaches to autoimmune issues, digestive conditions, hay fever, anxiety and reproductive challenges, among many others.
Sitting behind the principles of acupuncture are many hundreds of years of medical philosophy and belief around how the body responds differently to certain stimuli and how those reactions interrupt the natural healing energy we all have, known as qi.
By using superfine needles placed into the skin as specific points on the body, those interruptions and blockages can be removed, allowing the body to operate more efficiently and naturally to address ongoing health issues.
Understandably, there are those who are sceptical about how effective complementary treatments really are but spending even a little bit of time researching this ancient approach to medicine reveals a lot of testimony to show it has a healing role to play in our modern world.
Let’s also explode one myth that always seems to be at the forefront of the minds of those who have never received acupuncture treatment: when offered by a skilled and experienced practitioner, acupuncture should never be painful.
The aim of acupuncture is to rebalance or enable our bodies to self-regulate, making them better able to heal, protect and regenerate. This allows for many conditions to be treated by acupuncture, but in today’s world its primary application is to reduce pain.
Around 10 million acupuncture treatments are given each year in the United States and across Europe and it’s estimated that around a quarter of all adults have used acupuncture at some time to address their health concerns.
What Does Acupuncture Do?
As we’ve already covered, acupuncture aims to allow our natural life force to flow more freely. The specialist needles help to increase blood flow, alter brain activity, and trigger natural healing and recovery from myriad conditions.
Do I need to have acupuncture regularly?
Like most things that are good for you, such as exercise and a healthy diet, acupuncture has the greatest benefit when it’s an integral part of your health routine.
That doesn’t mean you have to make weekly visits for treatment, but because acupuncture is a holistic treatment that has a positive impact on all aspects of your health, rather than just a specific condition you may want to address, having some sort of regular acupuncture treatment is definitely beneficial.
What conditions can acupuncture help me with?
Acupuncture can help to mitigate and alleviate many common conditions that are a source of ongoing discomfort for people. These include:
- Back & Musculoskeletal pain: There is evidence to show that acupuncture can help to relieve back pain that persists for more than and may be effective for treating temporary acute low back pain.
- Migraines & Headaches: Trials have shown evidence that acupuncture may reduce both the number and duration of migraine episodes.
- Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain and discomfort, as well as tiredness. As well as potentially reducing pain, acupuncture may also help with fatigue and anxiety, two additional fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Arthritis: There have been a range of studies that show osteoarthritis patients may find acupuncture to be a beneficial supplement to current medical therapies. Other promising studies have revealed that acupuncture reduced knee arthritis pain.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: For pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, a Taiwanese study designed to evaluate acupuncture found that a test group of patients reported more relief than a second group receiving medication for a longer period of time.
- Hay fever: Acupuncture can help the immune system to develop and strengthen its natural defences to the pollen and seed allergens that trigger hay fever symptoms
- Anxiety & Stress: The healing emotional power of acupuncture has long been used in the treatment and management of stress and anxiety symptoms
When to Consider Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a popular potential substitute for painkillers or steroid therapies and very rarely has severe side effects. Additionally, it is regarded as a “complementary” medication that can be used in addition to other therapies. The best course of action is to talk to your GP about using acupuncture as a complementary treatment alongside your clinical care.
You should never stop receiving clinical care without first talking to your GP or health practitioner.
Choosing an Acupuncturist
It’s essential that any acupuncturist you choose should have received reputable and recognised standards of training.
The British Acupuncture Council maintains a register of acupuncturists, so that’s a good place to start – but bear in mind that as an unregulated industry, acupuncturists are not obliged to be listed on a register.
If you’d like to find out more about acupuncture and how The Acupuncturists Ltd can help you to take greater control of your health, please get in touch for an informal, no-obligation chat.