Acupuncture is an ancient practice which involves the insertion of fine needles into the tissues of the body at specific points.
Acupuncture originated in China over 2000 years ago. It is based on the concept, within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that energy – known as ‘qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’) – runs through the body along meridians or ‘channels’. If this energy is free -flowing and balanced, the individual is believed to remain in good health. However if qi becomes blocked, impaired or imbalanced, then it is thought that mental, emotional or physical illness may follow. Acupuncture aims to influence the flow or balance of qi in the body, by inserting fine needles to stimulate specific ‘acupoints’ along the meridians, to achieve a return to good health.
Scientific research has examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in various conditions. There is a growing body of evidence that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of pain. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for the treatment of tension-type headaches (source: NICE 2012)
Following a careful assessment your specialist will use an individually tailored course of acupuncture for your symptoms. A treatment will usually involve the insertion of between 2-10 needles. Acupuncture is not painful, although a pinprick or scratch-like sensation may be experienced as the needles are inserted. The needles may be inserted for as little as a few seconds, to a few minutes, but more commonly will remain in place for up to 30 minutes.
Each session is tailored to the individual and their specific condition. Research suggests that a course of six to ten sessions may be required to obtain the best results.