What is Acupuncture?
- Written by Louise Stevens
Acupuncture Is one of the best known forms of Chinese Medicine in the West. The acupuncturist inserts fine needles into points which lie along the channels where the vital energy (Qi) and blood flow, to stimulate the body’s own healing response and help restore its natural balance.
What does Acupuncture involve?
There are around 500 recognised acupuncture points on the body, of which about 100 are most commonly used. Stimulation of specific areas on the skin affects the functioning of certain organs in the body. However, those areas may not be close to the part of the body where the problem is experienced. For example, although you may suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted in your foot or hand i.e. along the course of a channel.
Acupuncture bears little resemblance to those needles used in injections. They are much finer and are solid rather than hollow. When a needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache. Needles are left in place for about 20 minutes, during which time the patient may experience a heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation.
Is Acupuncture safe?
Serious adverse effects from CHM are very rare, and it has a very good safety record. However, ‘natural’ does not in itself mean safe. It is therefore essential that you are treated by a practitioner who is trained to a high standard, who complies with UK laws which have banned the use of certain toxic herbal ingredients, who monitors each case carefully to ensure that the patient has no unusual reactions to treatment, and uses suppliers with a proven record of reliability. It is also important that your practitioner takes note of any drug treatment that you may be receiving, in order to ensure that there is no incompatibility between such treatment and particular ingredients in the CHM prescription. RCHM demands high standards for admission, imposes stringent rules on its members, and is actively engaged in initiatives to ensure quality control of herbs and herbal products. The public is therefore well-advised to seek help from RCHM members.
All members of the BAcC must observe a Code of Practice which lays down stringent standards of hygiene of sterilisation for needles and other equipment. These procedures have been approved by the Department of Health and provide protection against the transmission of infectious diseases. Patients who have been treated by a BAcC member are not eligible to donate blood through the National Blood Service for 3 months after treatment has ended.