Acupuncture is par t of Chinese medicine involving fine needles which are inser ted at par ticular acupuncture points over the body.
Acupuncture is available on the NHS for some conditions and is often used by physiotherapists, or in pain clinics.
Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on the idea that Qi, or energy, flows through the body, and if the energy becomes blocked it causes illness. Acupuncture aims to help restore the flow of Qi around the body to cure disease.
Western medical acupuncture uses the same techniques but is based on the idea that the use of needles stimulate ner ves in the skin and muscles, and result in the production of endorphins and other substances to act as pain relief.
Acupuncturists use the technique to treat many health conditions, from gynaecological problems to digestive ones. However Western medical acupuncture is generally used to treat headaches and chronic pain from various conditions and is available on the NHS in some places. It involves inser ting sterile, single-use, disposable needles into par ticular points of the body for a period of time. Sometimes a small electric current is used on the needles (electroacupuncture).
It is generally safe, though side effects can include bruising, pain, bleeding, nausea and feeling faint.
As always, if you are considering acupuncture do please tell your GP, especially if you have a condition or take medication which af fects your blood’s ability to clot, such as anticoagulants.
A treatment where East and West meet