What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment involving the insertion of fine needles into various parts of the body. There are two main schools of thought – traditional Chinese acupuncture, which is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Medical Acupuncture (WMA).
Western Medical Acupuncture, which Janine practises, is similar to Chinese acupuncture, but also applies our current scientific understanding of anatomy (the structure of the body), physiology (the healthy functioning of the body), and pathology (changes to the normal functioning of the body).
Western Medical Acupuncture also applies the principles of evidence-based medicine. The practice of evidence-based medicine involves integrating the best research evidence with clinical expertise and the values of the patient.
What does acupuncture do?
We know that acupuncture harnesses the body’s natural painkillers, including the most commonly known ones, endorphins and serotonin. It may also encourage the body to heal itself if it is able. It has a beneficial effect on health – patients often notice an improved sense of wellbeing after treatment.
Modern research shows that acupuncture can affect most of the body’s systems – the nervous system, muscle tone, hormone outputs, circulation, antibody production and allergic responses, as well as the respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems.
What is involved in treatment with acupuncture?
The dose, or number of acupuncture treatments is tailored to the individual patient. As it takes account of the responsiveness of that individual, I can only give a general idea of what treatment may involve. Typically, fine needles are inserted through the skin and left in position briefly. Sometimes they are stimulated manually or electrically (electroacupuncture). The number of needles used varies but may be only two or three.
Treatment might be twice a week for the first week then at longer intervals as the condition responds. A typical course of treatment lasts 5 to 8 sessions. You may experience a feeling of wellbeing straightaway, some people feel sleepy during and after their treatment.
You are welcome and indeed encouraged to stay and rest in the waiting room after treatment if you need to – especially after your first treatment and if you are driving yourself home. You’re advised not to do vigorous exercise within 24 hours of your acupuncture treatment.