There are many forms of acupuncture available and it is one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world. Traditional acupuncture is a system based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years.
Acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques which have been developed and refined, focusing on you as an individual. All symptoms are seen in relation to each other and treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points of the body to affect the flow of your body’s vital energy.
Is there a regulatory body for acupuncture in the UK?
The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is the leading self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture.
The British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) is a registered charity established to encourage the use and scientific understanding of acupuncture within medicine for the public benefit.
What happens when you visit a BAcC traditional acupuncturist?
On your first visit your acupuncturist they will as you questions about your symptoms and your medical history as well as about your sleeping pattern, appetite, digestion and your emotional wellbeing. Women would also be asked about their menstrual cycle and any past pregnancies or childbirth.
You may feel that some questions appear unrelated to your condition but this information is essential to give your practitioner a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. The practitioner will take your pulse on both wrists and could examine your tongue and feel for areas of muscular tension or pain.
Your acupuncturist will make a diagnosis based on all the information provided and put together a treatment plan. They will use very fine, single use, pre-sterilised needles to stimulate specific acupuncture points on your body. These points may not be close to where you experience pain or discomfort because of the energy meridians range across the whole body.
Your practitioner could use some or all of the following for your treatment:
- Needle acupuncture
- moxibustion: heat is applied to an acupuncture point or meridian using moxa (a therapeutic herb) and/or heat lamps to warm and relax muscles and qi
- tuina: Chinese therapeutic massage relieves muscle tension, stimulates acupressure points, opens energy meridians and stimulate the flow of qi
- cupping: glass cups with a vacuum seal are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and clear stagnant qi
- guasha: vigorous rubbing of the skin increases blood flow and clears stagnant qi.
After your treatment
Many people find acupuncture relaxing and often feel very calm after a treatment. You may feel a little tired or sleepy and should take this into account if you are planning to drive or use heavy machinery straight after your treatment.
You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment.
Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting.