Acupuncture is part of a broad system of medicine conceived of in China, where it still features in mainstream healthcare, both as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with conventional western medicine. It takes a holistic view of the body, equating health with internal balance rather than simply the absence of disease.
While two people may both suffer from the same symptom, migraine for example, the underlying imbalance causing this expression of illness is unique to the individual. Consequently, diagnosis and treatments must take into account the whole person, treating not just the symptoms, but also their root cause.
Fundamental to this state of balance is to have highly oxygenated, nutrient rich blood, circulating unimpeded throughout the body. Where the flow is impeded or restricted, ill health will occur. This can take the form of musculoskeletal pain, internal issues such as digestive and menstrual problems and emotional disorders such as irritability and stress.
Acupuncture works to relieve pain, promote tissue repair, regulate nerves and hormones, and restore healthy blood flow throughout the body. In addition, needling of motor points (where the motor nerve joins the muscle) and trigger points (knots in the muscle) can restore muscles strength and correct length and function.
As interest in its therapeutic effects grows, more and more acupuncture research is being conducted, finding out how it works and which conditions it is most effective for treating. Please see the Acupuncture Research section below to find out more.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) also lists a wide variety of conditions for which controlled clinical trials indicate that acupuncture may be an effective therapy: WHO Acupuncture Review
- The Acupuncture Now Foundation provides comprehensive information about the current state of acupuncture research with supporting studies for its clinical effectiveness
- For more information on motor inhibition and it’s role in causing pain, dysfunction and preventing recovery from injury click here
- Dr Richard Teh-Fu Tan’s Balance Method is a style of acupuncture which is becoming increasingly popular due to its profound and instantaneous results with a variety of painful conditions. Click here for more details of this approach.
- The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is the UK’s leading self-regulatory body for the practice of acupuncture in the UK. It aims to ensure excellence in training, safe practice and professional conduct of its members. The website contains a comprehensive summary of research into the use of acupuncture for a wide variety of conditions: BAcC Acupuncture Research