Acupuncture is a traditional branch of Chinese medicine, and has been practised for thousands of years successfully throughout the Far East and more recently around the world. The practice includes using very fine needles inserted at specific sites throughout the body for the purposes of therapy and prevention. Although used traditionally as a Chinese medicine, it is now more commonly used throughout the world, it is important to receive a correct diagnosis to see if acupuncture can actually help the issue you’re suffering from. Although traditionally use as a way to help Qi flow through the body and help prevent illnesses, it is now used to treat diagnosed illnesses as studies have found that, the needles can stimulate nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue.
Used in China for many years and classed as a recognised and widely practice treatment, acupuncturist have since spread their work around the rest of the world, allowing for the treatment to successfully help thousands of people. Acupuncturists have for many years used used the art of applying very fine needles to specific point in the body to provide relief of pain and to release tension to prevent injury or pain. The treatment is commonly used for headaches, lower back pain and osteoarthritis which has been proven as a positive way to relieve pain and regain movement. More recently it has been used to help with anxiety, infertility and asthma with varying degrees of success and with no scientific evidence to back it up.
Practitioners in acupuncture use the treatment to help with a wide range of health problems. Many NHS patients, with recommendations from their GP, who may suffer from back or arthritis problems use the treatment alongside their GP prescribed treatment, as a way to help ease pain, maintain movement and regain more movement. The most common ailments treated by acupuncturists are generally musculoskeletal conditions and pain conditions such as chronic pain, neck pain, back pain, dental pain, lower back pain, migraines and postoperative pain. The pressure applied by the needles into the muscle tissue or nerves helps to stimulate them, allowing more movement and some pain relief for the patient who undergoes the therapy.
Although it is used commonly for a range of muscular issues, it has also been used to treat a far wider range of conditions such as nausea, vomiting, allergies, fatigue, depression, anxiety, digestive disorders, infertility, insomnia and dry mouth. Acupuncturists are not regulated in England, but non medical practitioners of acupuncture are required to register with their local authority, due to the hygiene process involved in the practice. Acupuncture remains one of the most common alternative medicines used throughout the country to treat muscular and nerve problems.
If you decided to undertake an acupuncture session, the acupuncturist will carry out an assessment of your general health, medical history and carry out a physical examination. The practitioner will ask you about your general health gathering information on the lifestyle you lead, and any medical history to ensure you are safe to undertake the treatment. As part of this the practitioner may also carry out a physical examination to assess your ailment to help gain a better understanding of where the issue may be coming from. Once your practitioner has all the information they need they will talk you through whats involved in the treatment, what to expect and any possible side effects you may feel as a result of the treatment.
When you finally undergo the process, the practitioner will begin the insertion of the fine needles into your body in the area that needs the treatment, these are known as acupuncture points. For your comfort and safety you will be asked to remove items of clothing and either lie or sit down. The fine needles usually a few centimetres long will then be inserted into a specific part of the body, the needles used during the treatment are pre sterilised and are disposed of after every session. Needles will usually be inserted into 1 to 12 points in your body, sometimes they will be placed in more depending on the on the severity of the symptoms you are suffering. Once the needle is inserted into the skin, then they are left for up to 30 minutes. Some practitioners throughout the country will rotate the needles during the session or pass a small electrical current through them to better stimulate your tissue and muscle, to help speed up your recovery process.
Although it is seen as a recognised medical treatment will continuous studies into its use in China, the NHS and WHO have carried out less research and trials into its use. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommend acupuncture as a successful treatment option for people who suffer from chronic lower back pain, chronic pain, migraines and chronic tension type headaches. Due to this recommendation, when patients discuss it with a doctor they are more likely to recommend it as a therapy to use alongside a treatment they may already be undergoing.
One of the largest and most respected organisations in the medical industry that carries out reviews and studies on the the effectiveness of medical treatments in The Cochrane Collaboration. After carrying out a number of reviews on acupuncture treatment they have found strong evidence that it has successful results in helping to treat chronic lower back pain, tension type headaches, migraines, nausea, vomiting, osteoarthritis, neck pain and irritable bowel syndrome. After people have discussed the use of acupuncture successfully for other treatments such as asthma, depression, elbow pain and insomnia, The Cochrane Collaboration have started to look into carrying out more detailed reviews into the alternative uses of acupuncture and how it can be used to help benefit people with other ailments.