How Acupuncture started
Acupuncture has been used in China and other eastern cultures to restore, promote and maintain good health for about 2,500 years.
Today acupuncture is used far more extensively in China than in the West, in a hospital-based system with facilities for treating acute as well as chronic cases.
In Britain, very little serious study of traditional acupuncture took place before the 1950s and early 1960s.
In the 1970s the UK had no more than a handful of professionally trained practitioners. Today, 3,000 qualified acupuncturists are registered with The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC).
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture aims to improve the overall wellbeing of the patient, rather than treating specific symptoms in isolation.
Traditional Chinese philosophy states that our health is dependent on the body's motivating energy, known as Qi, moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of channels beneath the skin.
For any number of reasons, Qi may become unbalanced, which leads to illness. By inserting fine needles into the channels of Qi energy an acupuncturist can stimulate the body's own healing response and help restore its natural equilibrium.
To assess how the energies are flowing in an individualâ€™s body an acupuncturist will feel the pulses on both wrists, noting their quality, rhythm and strength. The structure, colour and coating of the tongue also give a good guide to a personâ€™s health.
A holistic approach
Traditional acupuncture takes a holistic approach, treating the whole person to regain the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual. The exact pattern and degree of disharmony is unique to each individual. Traditional acupuncture will treat it as such with a personalised treatment plan which is put together after a full diagnosis has been made.
Who can acupuncture help?
Some people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or conditions. Others choose to have treatment to help maintain health or strengthen the constitution.
Acupuncture can also be used alongside conventional medicine in the treatment of both acute and chronic disease.
Acupuncture is a safe treatment for all, although for babies and young children pressure rather than needles may be used.
British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) practitioners use disposable single use acupuncture needles. These are pre-sterilised, are in sealed packs and are disposed of after each treatment.
Acupuncture has proved to be effective in a wide range of conditions. These include:
pregnancy management and for the relief of pain in childbirth
infertility, menstrual problems and the menopause
overcoming addictions, e.g. smoking, alcohol, food, drugs
depression, anxiety and mental health
arthritis and rheumatism
sciatica, back pain and indeterminate aches and pains
high blood pressure
skin conditions and ulcers
general feelings of ill health, e.g. lethargy, Nausea, dizziness
Finding a qualified acupuncturist
It is essential for patients to choose an acupuncturist who is registered with a professional body.
British Acupuncture Council members have an extensive training in acupuncture and bio medical sciences appropriate to the practice of acupuncture in the UK. They are covered by full medical malpractice and public/products liability insurance and are bound by codes of ethics and safe practice.
A patientâ€™s personal relationship and rapport with their practitioner is important. Patients need to find a practitioner they feel comfortable with, who understands what they want from treatment and who can explain clearly the benefits acupuncture can offer.
About the BAcC:
The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has a membership of over 3,000 professionally qualified acupuncturists. It is the UK's largest professional body for the practice of acupuncture.
BAcC members practise a traditional, holistic style of acupuncture diagnosis and treatment based on what has been developed and refined over 2,000 years. To achieve BAcC membership, practitioners must first undertake extensive training in traditional acupuncture (minimum three yearsâ€™ full-time or part-time equivalent), which includes physiology, anatomy and other biomedical sciences appropriate for practice
Visit the British Acupuncture Council website on: www.acupuncture.org.uk
The British Acupuncture Council can provide an overview of research (published by the Acupuncture Research Resource Centre) into acupunctureâ€™s effectiveness for many of the conditions listed above
BT Buddies would like to thank Marian Rose at the British Acupuncture Council for putting this article together.