Traditional acupuncture is a healthcare system based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years. It has a very positive model of good health and function and looks at pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance.
The overall aim of acupuncture treatment, then, is to restore the body's equilibrium. What makes this system so uniquely suited to modern life is that physical, emotional and mental are seen as interdependent, and reflect what many people perceive as the connection between the different aspects of their lives.
Traditional acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for centuries. The focus is on the individual, not their illness, and all the symptoms are seen in relation to each other. Each patient is unique; two people with the same western diagnosis may well receive different acupuncture treatments.
The underlying principle of treatment is that illness and pain occur when the body's qi, or vital energy, cannot flow freely. There can be many reasons for this; emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection or injury are among the most common. By inserting ultra-fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free flow of qi to restore balance and trigger the body's natural healing response.
Is there any evidence that Acupuncture works?
According to the NHS Choices website, there is reasonably good evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for:
In 2009 NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) issued new guidelines to make acupuncture available on the NHS for chronic lower back pain. This was following research by the University of Regensburg showing that acupuncture can provide significantly more relief from lower back pain than conventional therapies. The Chinese needle treatment was 74% more likely to lead to a sustained reduction in pain or improved ability to function normally than physiotherapy, medication and advice on exercise.
However, sceptics believe that the placebo plays a large part in the positive effect of acupuncture, read more here
For further information, please visit The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC).