Acupuncture Awareness Week
National Acupuncture Awareness Week
3rd March- 10th March 2014
Acupuncture Awareness Week, supported by the British Acupuncture Council, aims to help better inform people about the ancient practice of traditional acupuncture. With 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year, acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. Yet many people only discover acupuncture as a last resort despite its widely recognised health benefits.
Traditional acupuncture forms a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine where the basis of diagnosis and treatment is that the mind and body should be in perfect balance.
This ancient system of healing has developed over 2,500 years originating in China and other far Eastern cultures. It is a gentle and effective treatment that focuses on helping the whole person, aiming to improve their entire health and wellbeing and today is widely used and accepted all over the world.
Your first acupuncture treatment
Your acupuncturist will do a full diagnostic consultation asking questions about your medical history including all aspects of your health and wellbeing. Your acupuncturist will also look at your tongue and feel your pulses on both wrists. This comprehensive diagnostic consultation allows the practitioner to create a bespoke treatment plan including lifestyle and dietary advice as well as acupuncture.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions required will depend entirely on the individual patient and the condition. Your acupuncturist will normally ask to see you once or twice a week at first. Some change is usually felt within five or six treatments, although occasionally just one or two treatments are sufficient.
How can acupuncture help me?
A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture, as practised by British Acupuncture Council members safely treats a wide range of common health problems including short-term relief of symptoms such as low back pain, tension-type headaches and migraine-type headaches. It can also be used to help temporarily relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee (along with exercise and conventional medicine). In fact the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on best practice now recommend that GPs offer a course of 10 sessions of acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain. In September last year, NICE announced it also recognises acupuncture’s benefits for migraines and tension-type headaches too.
Tried and tested medicine
Today 2.3 million acupuncture treatments are carried out each year by British Acupuncture Council members and the therapy is widely accepted as an effective solution for a range of illnesses and symptoms. What’s more there is a substantial body of evidence to support this. Click here to find research that has been carried out on acupuncture including low back pain, nausea and osteoarthritis knee pain.
A popular myth
One of the most popular myths surrounding acupuncture is the size of the needle used in treatment. In fact research shows that 21% of the British public think an acupuncturist’s needle is as large as that used in an injection. The reality is acupuncture needles are actually the same width as a human hair and some are just 0.13mm in length. Most people might feel a slight tingling sensation when the needles are used, but this certainly does not feel like the pain associated with an injection.
Despite popular opinion, acupuncturists have degree level qualifications and adhere to codes of safe practice and professional conduct in order to be registered and insured by the British Acupuncture Council. The Council guarantees excellence in training, safe practice and professional conduct so patients are advised to look for a practitioner who has British Acupuncture Council membership.
Claims that acupuncture is unsafe are much discussed in the media, yet there is a growing body of research which backs the treatment’s safety. Two surveys conducted independently of each other and published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 concluded that the risk of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. This makes acupuncture one of the safest treatments available. One survey was of traditional acupuncturists and the other of doctors who practise acupuncture. A total of 66,000 treatments were reviewed altogether, with only a handful of minor and transient side effects recorded. A 2003 survey of 6,000 patients of acupuncture produced almost identical figures.
There are very few side effects from acupuncture when practised by a fully qualified practitioner of traditional acupuncture. Any minor side effects that do occur, such as dizziness or bruising around needle points, are mild and self-correcting.