What is Acupuncture
Acupuncture therapy is originated in ancient China. It is founded on the ancient Chinese medicine. In this type of therapy fine needles are inserted in selected sites of the body of the patient for both preventive and curative treatment of illness. It is widely used in UK in para clinics, hospitals and in various NHS GP practices. Acupuncture is used both as alternative medicine and complementary medicine to modern medical theories.
The method of operation of Acupuncture
In western Acupuncture, treatment is carried out after proper medical diagnosis. Through the use of needles sensory nerves below muscles and skin are stimulated through Acupuncture. This stimulation leads to the production of natural substances like pain reliving endorphins in the body. It is this naturally released substance which brings beneficial effects of Acupuncture. Long lasting relief from pain is obtained through a course of Acupuncture and it is more effective when compared with a single treatment. The conventional Acupuncture is founded on the argument that a life force or energy flows through the channels in the body. These channels are known as meridians. This life force is termed as Qi. It is pronounced as “chee”.
The Acupuncture therapists who use Acupuncture in conventional way argue that when Qi does not flow freely through a man’s body it results in illness to him. Their argument is that through inserting needles in certain spots in the body, the flow of life force (Qi) can be restored in the body and through which the health is regained.
Benefits of Acupuncture
An Acupuncture therapist, popularly called acupuncturist, uses this therapy for treating wide range of health issues. It is also to be noted that the Acupuncture treatment is not always based on any clear cut scientific evidence. The Nice (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) is the agency which provides guidelines on the use of treatments and care of patients for the NHS. Now a day’s NICE recommends acupuncture treatment for chronic head ache which causes tension to patients and for various migraines. Acupuncture is also recommended for treating musculoskeletal disorders resulting pain condition. The common bone and muscle disorders include chronic pain such as pain in the neck, pain in the joints, pain in the teeth and post operative pains.
Even though acupuncture is recommended for above maligns the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of this therapy is unclear when compared with other therapeutic methods.
Acupuncture on the NHS
Acupuncture treatment is now a days available on the NHS from GP surgeries or psychotherapist. But the access to them is limited.Most of the patients undergo private treatment of acupuncture. The various acupuncture therapists charge different fees for their treatment and hence the cost of treatment widely varies among the therapists. Hence if one wants to undergo acupuncture treatment, it is better to discuss the treatment with his GP first before selecting the therapist.
The mode of performance of acupuncture
The first stage of acupuncture therapy is the evaluation of the general health of the patient. This evaluation is done through physical examination and study of medical history of the patient. This session lasts for twenty minutes to one hour. The second stage is insertion of acupuncture needles. The course treatment may involve several separate sessions also depending upon the therapists and health condition of the patient.
Insertion of needles
The acupuncture therapist first locates specific selected points in the body of the patient. These places are called acupuncture points. The needles are inserted to these points. The patient will be in a sitting position or may be allowed to lie down at this session. The patients might have removed his clothes so that the practitioner can locate the acupuncture points in the body. The needles used should be very fine and should have only a few centimetres length. The needle should be used for single use and should be disposed of immediately after use. The needle should be pre sterilised before use. Acupuncturists select specific points on the patient’s body to insert needles. The number of points varies according to the number of symptoms found in the patient. The needles are inserted just under the skin or sometimes a little deeper up to muscles. After inserting the needles in the body they are kept in position undisturbed for a period varying from a few minutes to half an hour. When the needles are inserted the patients may feel a dull pain or a tingling. Generally there will not be any significant pain. But if a patient feels pain the fact should be intimated to the therapist then and there.
Legislation for acupuncture therapy
There are no laws for assuring the safety of acupuncture in UK. Before selecting an acupuncturist make sure that the therapist is either a regulated health care professional like nurses, doctors, physiotherapist etc or a member of a national acupuncture organisation. A register showing the list of accredited list of acupuncturist is available in the website of the professional standard authority for health and social care. Acupuncture is generally safe when it is carried out by a qualified therapist. But rarely some patients feel low intensive short term side effects. Some of the common side effects are listed below.
1.Pain at the point of insertion of needle in the skin.
2.Bleeding or bruising from the point of puncture of needle.
5.Dizzy of faint feeling.
6.The pre existing symptoms get worsened.
If the patient is having haemophilia or if he is taking anti coagulant before starting acupuncture consulting with general practitioner should be done. Similarly acupuncture is not recommended for patients who have allergy to metals or he is susceptible to infection at the point of insertion of needle. There is no harm for carrying out acupuncture in pregnant women. But the acupuncturist should be informed about the pregnancy because certain acupuncture points are to be avoided during pregnancy.
Acupuncture to cure Depression and Anxiety
With all the conveniences that the modern age has brought to mankind, people are still vulnerable to emotional conflicts (many instances of emotional distress are caused by the very agents that have made life simpler for us). As a result, anxiety and depression remain the two most common emotional conditions faced by people these days. Here is when it is useful to look towards history to find ways to cope with such emotional trauma. One such practice from the past is acupuncture.Acupuncture is one of several oriental healing traditions which, while they are all different, share the common view that wellness of mind and body go hand in hand. In an age when one is constantly bombarded by information from all sides, acupuncture is one of the ways by which one can unwind from all of these and achieve a feeling of true inner tranquillity.
Acupuncture to heal Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling everybody goes through when faced with a tense situation. The moment when anxiety should be taken seriously is when such feelings arise repeatedly when there are no external stimuli. Anxiety disorders take the shape of panic attacks, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).An acupuncturist determines the pattern of anxiety disorder a patient is suffering from by observing the symptoms in conjunction with the tongue and pulse. In eastern medical traditions, conditions of anxiety are related to imbalances in the heart and kidney (going by the Yin-Yang theory of Chinese medicine). Anxiety disorders can be treated using auricular (ear) and body acupuncture.
Healing Depression through Acupuncture
Depression is a condition affecting at least 20% of the world population and is becoming widely prevalent across the world. In most cases, a person suffering from this condition suffers from a state of extreme exhaustion, and carrying out even the most basic of chores can seem like an ordeal. Chinese medicine denotes depression by the term ‘yu’, a problem of constraint, and the liver is the primary organ associated with this condition. The liver is responsible for circulating ‘qi’ the vital energy within the body and any stagnation caused in this circulation affects the person’s mood. Stagnation in the liver will also lead to stagnation in heat, phlegm and blood, which could lead to several ailments like mental cloudiness, mania and the like.Acupuncturists treat depression by bringing about a balance in the flow of energies within the body. Treatments are usually customised according to the need of each patient, but the most common of these is called The Four Gates. Pressure points for this treatment are the lower intestine, hand, liver and foot.Lifestyle changes can also be a big determinant in warding off depression. Even after your treatment is over, you could incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into your regimen like yoga or tai chi, which will ensure that harmony between mind and body remains intact.