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The Chinese and other Eastern peoples have been using acupuncture to restore, promote and maintain good health for about 2,500 years. Stone needles were originally used, and later bronze, gold and silver needles until the stainless steel needles we use in modern times. The first medical account of acupuncture was 'The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine' which dates from about 300 B.C.E.
Acupuncture is rooted in the Taoist philosophy of change, growth, balance and harmony, and this text outlines the principles of natural law and the movements of life - through principles such as yin and yang, the Five Elements, the organ system and the meridian network along which acupuncture points are located.
Amazingly, these records also contain details of pathology and physiology which provide the theoretical foundation for acupuncture today, some 2000 years later.

Acupuncture practice was gradually developed and refined. But from the mid-seventeenth century there was a decline in acupuncture and herbalism which coincided with the increasing influence of Western ideas on China.
Although acupuncture was always practiced in rural communities, it was not until after the Liberation and the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949, that there was a great resurgence of interest in it at a national level.
During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), with the persecution of surgeons and doctors practicing biomedicine, traditional Chinese medicine was given new opportunities to develop. Today acupuncture is used far more extensively in China than in the West, in a hospital-based system with facilities for treating acute as well as chronic cases. The national policy is to pursue both systems side by side, with extensive clinical research.

What does acupuncture involve?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points that lie along the energy pathways that run just beneath the body surface. The aim of this is to stimulate the body's own healing response and help restore its natural energetic balance.
Many people find the thought of multiple needles in the body very off-putting. However, acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to those used for injections etc.
They are much finer - not much thicker than a hair. When they are inserted the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache.
After insertion needles are usually left in place for 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the effect required. During treatment patients commonly experience heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation.

What can Acupuncture treat?
The World Health Organisation gathered all the scientific trials into the effectiveness of Acupuncture and published a paper into conditions that acupuncture was proven to be effective, click here to download the report. The list below is a generally summary from that report.

Chronic and Acute Pain - Injuries, headaches, neck and back pain, tendonitis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia

Neurological Disorders - Post-stroke recover, Bell's Palsy & Trigeminal Neuralgia, movement disorders

Upper Respiratory Disorders - Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throat, laryngitis, colds and flu.

Digestive Disorders - Irritable bowel, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, heartburn, food allergies, ulcers

Urinary and Reproductive Disorders - Cystitis, menstrual cramps, irregular or heavy periods, infertility, menopausal symptoms.

Immune Function - Recurrent infections, supportive treatment of cancer and AIDS patients.

Addictions - Addictions to nicotine, alcohol and drugs.

Eye and Ear Disorders - Tinnitus, Meniere's disease.

Mental Emotional Disturbance- Depression, Anxiety & Insomnia

Does Acupuncture hurt?
Most people's experience of needles is of those used in injections and blood tests. Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to these. They are much finer and are solid rather than hollow. When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache. Needles are inserted either for a second or two, or may be left in place for 30 minutes or more, depending on the effect required. During treatment, patients commonly experience a heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation. The benefits of acupuncture frequently include more than just relief from a particular condition. Many people find that it can also lead to increased energy levels, better appetite and sleep as well as an enhanced sense of overall well being.

Is Acupuncture safe?
All members of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) must observe the Code of Safe Practice which defines the hygiene and safety standards relating to the practice of acupuncture, click here to download. These procedures have been approved by the Department of Health, and provide protection against the transmission of infectious diseases. Patients who have been treated by a BAcC member are eligible to donate blood through the National Blood Service.

I use single use pre-sterilised disposable needles, which are disposed of after each treatment. British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) members observe the Code of Safe Practice which lays down stringent standards of hygiene and sterilisation for other equipment.


This site may contain information on medical and health-related topics. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease but should always consult your own physician.