Acupuncture really is a hot topic right now. Everywhere I look there are features, case studies, articles and research findings – not just in journals but on the news, on line and in glossy magazines.
So what’s it all about? Here, I will give you the low-down on how acupuncture works, what treatment is really like and what it can help you with.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is about treating the underlying cause of your symptoms to return the body to optimum health. Daily stresses, unhealthy lifestyle choices and injury upset our finely tuned balance and lead to physical and emotional symptoms. Through careful questioning and examination I can identify the root cause of your symptoms. Gentle stimulation of specific acupuncture points brings your body and mind back into balance and symptoms disappear.
Needling acupuncture points (according to research and MRI scans) triggers the body’s own natural healing response releasing necessary hormones and/or the body’s natural painkillers.
What is acupuncture REALLY like?
… and “Does acupuncture hurt?” are two questions I get asked a lot. The answer is No! Many people are put off having acupuncture because they think it will hurt. It doesn’t. The needles are tiny, incredibly fine – about the size of a few hairs on your head. Kate uses the most high quality needles which are incredibly fine, smooth and painfree. The sensation is nothing like having an injection. It is a unique feeling often described as a dull ache which triggers feelings of calmness and tranquility. Most people find it very relaxing and drift off to sleep during treatment.
During your first visit I take a thorough health history to form a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. I take the pulses on both wrists, look at your tongue and feel for areas of tension (if relevant).
Having made a diagnosis you then relax on the treatment couch and I use very fine single-use needles to stimulate acupuncture points on your body.
I love hearing clients’ descriptions of the needle sensation. I’ve heard it described as: “a dull ache”, “a slight bruising feeling” and “a warm energy radiating up my arm”.
What can acupuncture help me with?
I have clients who see me for many different reasons but most often when they have exhausted conventional avenues or are reluctant to be on long-term medication.
Looking through my files, the most common concerns that I treat are: lower back pain, IBS, stress, depression, insomnia, fertility and to boost immune systems.
Other complaints I have successfully treated include:
Pain – injuries, neck/back/hip/knee pain, sciatica, frozen shoulder, arthritis
Digestive disorders – IBS, indigestion, bloating, heartburn, nausea, constipation, eating disorders
Stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, insomnia, chronic fatigue
Menstrual and menopausal disorders – PMT, painful periods, PCOS
Fertility (including IVF support), pregnancy discomfort and labour induction
Headaches and migraines
Skin conditions – eczema, asthma, psoriasis, acne
How many sessions do I need?
Acupuncture is not necessarily a ‘quick fix’ – it slowly unravels and heals the imbalances that have developed over time. Some do get instant relief but it is difficult to say exactly how quickly clients will see their symptoms improve. Generally clients will see me weekly for 4 weeks (it is important to maintain momentum in the beginning) and then, as symptoms improve and the body is staying balanced treatment can be spaced out to 2-weekly sessions. Eventually clients see me seasonally ie. 4 times a year for an ‘MOT’.
The big question. Does acupuncture work?
Yes acupuncture works! Acupuncture is so robustly researched that it is now prescribed by the NHS for certain conditions including chronic lower back pain. You can find research statistics and factsheets here.
Here's what my clients say:
“Thanks for a great treatment today – you are a miracle worker.” James, 32, lower back pain.
“Thanks for saving me from having to be induced. I went into labour naturally after treatment. What a relief!” Alison, 34.
“I have suffered with IBS for many years and despite various treatments have found little relief. After just 3 treatments with Kate I have noticed a massive difference. I have also been less tired, less irritable and more energetic. Thank you.” Jonny, 35.
“My mind feels clearer and I’m not finding life such a struggle. I almost went down the anti-depressants route – I’m so glad I saw Kate first.” Sophie, 33.
Acupuncture is a wonderful, effective treatment. I hope this gives you an idea of what you can expect from treatment, what it can help with and with what results. I'm always happy to answer any questions so please feel free to get in touch.
** To tie in with Acupuncture Awareness Week I am doing free 15 minute telephone consultations so now's your chance to see how acupuncture can help you. Call 07794 621027. **
Kate Winstanley MBAcC BSc(Hons) BA(Hons) LicAc