2.3 million acupuncture treatments are carried out each year, traditional acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. Yet statistics show that 1 in 5 of us would only consider acupuncture for sleep as a last resort. Almost a quarter of people admit they didnt realise acupuncture could benefit them despite its widely recognised health benefits. It is also now available on the NHS.
The NYR Natural News wrote that ‘Treating children with chronic pain can be complex, due to kids’ vulnerability while they’re growing and the fear of causing long-term effects. To make matters worse, studies into the therapeutic options for treating children’s pain is limited’.
Angela Johnson, MSTOM, MPH, practitioner of Chinese medicine of Rush’s Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, led a recent study that found that acupuncture may be a safe and effective add-on integrative medicine treatment for chronic pain in children. Results of the study were published in Alternative and Complementary Therapies‘.
Back in 2009, after having numerous spinal surgeries and also being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I was at a stage where no matter what gambit of drugs I was taking I was still in a lot of pain.
I was already having regular aromatherapy massage on my back which I found amazing, but the relief was short-lived, so I decided to go down the complementary therapy route and try something new.
Acupuncture was available at my NHS pain clinic, so I was able to go for regular sessions which were to mainly treat my neck and arm pains. I found these to be beneficial and could notice a difference by the end of each session but as my treatments were only one session every two weeks, I soon found that my pain was back before my next session.
Acupuncture works by stimulating your own body’s healing mechanisms to help with pain and recovery. The concept has been part of traditional Chinese medicine since 1000BC where it was written in scripts on the holistic concept on how it can help heal the body.
It can be helpful in treating health issues that are typically associated with ageing says Natural Health Magazine. “To help support your hormone balance, brain functioning, bone strength, hearing, eyesight and teeth as they age, it’s important to tonify the kidney energy, “ says David. “A powerful acupuncture point is ‘kidney 3,’ also known as ‘supreme stream’, which is at the source point of the kidney energy channel, located close to the inner ankle. This can be effective in helping ease aches and pains.
Without balance in our bodies, there are many health-related problems we can encounter and having an Acupuncture treatment can help to restore your body systems to the right balance. They are quite often referred to as Yin (which is negative) and Yang (which is positive).
The Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapist’s explains how Acupuncture works. The acupuncture needle will stimulate the flow of QI [pronounced ‘chee’], which circulates in channels or meridians within the body. The QI circulates within the deeper organs of the body but connects to the superficial skin. In the state of a normal healthy body, a balance exists between these systems. Both the superficial energy and the deeper energy can be influenced by the stimulation of specific acupuncture points. If injury, disease, emotional trauma or infection occurs, the natural flow of QI within the meridians and organs may well be affected and the result is an altered flow, either a slowing or stagnation of QI causing pain and inflammation, or a deficit of QI, which may cause weakness, exhaustion and longer debilitating disease. The stimulation of relevant acupuncture points may free stagnation, reduce excess or indeed, increase QI to the specific area or organ and thus help to restore normal QI flow and balance.
There are several techniques in applying Acupuncture by Acupressure or Electro-Acupuncture which enhances the repair mechanism and enables an improved recovery time.
The conventional Acupuncture involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised, disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at the Acupuncture points. The Physiotherapist will determine the locations of the Acupuncture points, based upon the assessment of the cause of the imbalance. A number of needles may be used at each treatment and these are typically left in position for some 20-30 minutes before being removed.
Trigger point Acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles following trauma such as whiplash injury; for longer-term unresolving muscle pain such as repetitive strain injury (RSI) or as a means to obtain increased muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation such as sports injuries. Here the needle is placed into the affected muscle until it is felt to relax under the needle and then removed. Trigger point needling is often much quicker and therefore does not require the 20-30-minute treatment time.
Acupressure uses the Physiotherapist’s hands over Acupuncture or trigger points in order to relieve muscle tightness or to stimulate QI flow and balance the body. It is a healing art that uses the fingers of the Physiotherapist on the key Acupuncture points. The amount of pressure used varies according to the condition and requires trained sensitive hands. It is often used with sensitive patients, patients with a needle phobia, children or frail patients.
I do personally believe that Acupuncture and Acupressure can help heal and therefore relieve some pain but what I do not seem to have been able to achieve with this treatment is momentum.
Should it be used weekly, fortnightly, less or more? Is it something you could use to treat yourself? With alternative therapies being preferred by many sufferers for pain relief it’s a case of working out the correct balance of treatments that you need. And, if not available from your NHS finding someone local to give you a session.
I always think another great part of this Complementary Therapy is that your acupuncturist listens to your problems and can adapt the needles accordingly. It is something I am going to go back and have soon. You can find deals and vouchers online.