Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of medicine originating in China over 3,000 years ago. Modern science and research has shown that acupuncture stimulates the body in various ways to produce natural pain relieving chemicals (endorphines).
The traditional view is that acupuncture prevents stagnation of the Qi (energy) flow throughout body channels. Providing that the Qi flows freely about the body, a healthy state should be maintained.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine. Fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.
Who can use acupuncture?
Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages. It can be very effective when integrated with conventional medicine.
How many sessions will I need?
That depends on your individual condition. You may start to feel benefits after the first or second treatment although long-standing and chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. Generally,one course is considered ten to twelve acupuncture treatments. Some people will notice improvement after a single treatment. Others take longer to respond as acupuncture requires a cumulative effect. Most patients begin noticing changes within one to three treatments. After five to seven visits both the patient and the practitioner should feel confident that the treatment is effective. Acute conditions may be fairly well resolved at this point. Chronic conditions take longer.
What does it feel like?
Most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing. Patients often describe the needle sensation as a tingling or dull ache. This is one of the signs the body’s qi, or vital energy, has been stimulated.
I am scared of needles – can I still have acupuncture?
Yes. Acupuncture needles are very much finer than the needles used for injections and blood tests. You may not even feel them penetrate the skin and once in place they are hardly noticeable.
Who will carry out the treatment?
Manuela Stanciu MCSP MSOM
Manuela graduated as a physiotherapist in 2000 and has over 10 years of clinical experience in the field of Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy.
She is a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and the Society of Orthopaedic Medicine.
What should I do before a treatment?
Try not to have a large meal within an hour of your appointment as you may need to lie on your stomach but it is advisable to have a light meal within two hours before treatment. You should also avoid alcohol. It is a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothes so that the acupuncture points, especially those on your lower limbs, are easily accessible.
How will I feel after a treatment?
You are likely to feel relaxed and calm. If the treatment has been particularly strong you may feel tired or drowsy and it is worth bearing this in mind if you plan to drive or use any other machinery soon afterwards.
Are there any side-effects?
Acupuncture has virtually no unpleasant side effects – about the worst thing that can happen is you won’t get better; any that do occur are mild and self-correcting. Occasionally there may be minor bruising at the needle point or a short-term flare-up of your symptoms as your qi clears and resettles.
What conditions do you normally treat?
Musculo-skeletal pain,chronic tension-type headaches, migraines.
What should I wear?
Something loose fitting. If your clothes can be easily lifted to your knees and elbows then most of the time there is no need to remove items other than socks or tights.
How does acupuncture work?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an energetic model rather than the biochemical model of Western medicine. The ancient Chinese recognised the vital energy inherent in all living things. This energy is called Qi (pronounced chee). Over thousands of years of practice, the ancient physicians discovered a system of cyclic energy flowing in the human body along specific pathways called channels or meridians. Each channel is associated with a particular physiological system and internal organ. When the Qi in the pathways becomes obstructed, deficient or excessive, disease occurs. The corresponding organs and muscles do not get their necessary flow of energy and nutrients to properly perform their physiological functions.
The channels communicate with the surface of the body at specific locations called acupuncture points. Needles inserted in these points influence the Qi that flows to internal organs. Acupuncture can also affect specific areas of pain associated with injury or trauma. A needle inserted near the area of overstrained muscle or tendon will adjust the flow of Qi and nutrients to that area, thereby reducing pain and accelerating the healing process.
The acupuncture points have various functions, like stopping pain and stimulating immune function.
From western biomedical research, we understand that acupuncture influences a number of physiological functions such as release of endorphins (natural pain killing chemicals) by the brain, restoration of proper circulation in diseased areas, and stimulation of hormonal glands and immune system function. Research into the effects of acupuncture is still young. Scientists discover more information every year that helps us understand more fully how acupuncture works
Are the needles safe?
Yes. Acupuncturists use sterile, disposable needles. They are used once and then disposed of in biohazard containers. These containers are sent to a medical waste management company for proper disposal.