Acupuncture is a popular alternative health practice that originally stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine. There are reports that Acupuncture may have been used over 5000 years ago before it was developed in the far east. In the 17th Century it was brought into Europe however it was for many years met with resistance by the medical establishment and for some, still meets some scepticism today.
In the past thirty years, considerable scientific research on acupuncture has been carried out despite there being more to be done. A lot of the research can be found via “Acupuncture in Medicine” via the British Medical Journal.
The British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) is an organisation of regulated health professionals who practise the technique alongside more conventional techniques such as Medicine, Osteopathy and Dentistry. It is the stated mission of the society to encourage the use and scientific understanding of acupuncture within medicine for the public benefit.
Much more is now known about how it works and some of the myths can be laid to rest. It is demonstrably untrue to say that the results of this treatment approach are all in the mind according to BMAS.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
There have been some bogus claims that Acupuncture can treat XYX, such as aiding weight loss and helping those to quit smoking. Traditionally in traditional Chinese Medicine, there are points used on the external ear that are said to help with addictions but there is little evidence that this is true.
Practitioners of acupuncture may provide the following:
- Short-term improvement in the symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome (through electro-acupuncture at the SP6 point)
- Short-term relief of tension type headaches
- Short-term relief of migraine headache
- Short-term relief of chronic low back pain
- Short-term relief of neck pain or chronic neck pain
- Short-term relief from temporomandibular (TMD/TMJ) pain
- Temporary adjunctive treatment for osteoarthritis knee pain
What is involved in having acupuncture?
New patients will have an initial consultation and examination, followed by a course of treatment suitable for the condition whether that will be back pain, neck pain or a range of conditions treated by Osteopathy.
Treatment is usually provided in six consecutive appointments but may be less if the condition responds quickly. However, if the practitioner feels that your condition can not be treated, you will be recommended to see your GP or appropriate specialist.
The treatment itself involves fine needles being inserted through the skin and briefly left in position. Sometimes manual or low voltage electrical stimulation is applied to assist the process. The number of needles varies but may be only two or three.
Health Care Providers and insurance schemes
Some private health care providers such as BUPA, PPP and WPA pay for treatment under their health care policies. They will usually only do this if the treatment is being provided by an accredited British Medical Acupuncture Society member. If you are a member of a health care scheme, please telephone them for further information.