Acupuncture is an essential component of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points on the body.
Acupuncture is based on the belief that energy known as Qi flows through the body in channels or meridians. A disruption of the free energy flow causes disease. According to Eastern medicine practitioners, the human body has more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by meridians. Stimulating these points can restore the flow of Qi and thus improve health.
The exact way acupuncture works remain unclear. It is believed that the procedure stimulates the central nervous system, which in turn releases biochemicals and triggers the body's natural healing process.
Acupuncture is widely being used these days in GP Practices, pain clinics and other establishments throughout the UK and London.
When it is performed correctly by a licensed acupuncture practitioner using sterile needles, acupuncture is a safe treatment with very few side effects. Because acupuncture needles are solid and inserted between tissues, it is for the most part also a relatively painless process.
In rare cases, patients may experience mild, short-term side effects like pain where the needles puncture the skin, bruising, drowsiness, feeling faint, or worsening of pre-existing symptoms.
On the other hand, if acupuncture treatment is not performed correctly, it can cause serious side effects, including infections, punctured organs, collapsed lungs, and injury to the central nervous system.
Your acupuncture practitioner will start by assessing your health, taking the pulse on both wrists to determine how energies are flowing in the body, and examining your tongue’s shape, colour, and coating. Based on the findings, he or she will be able to choose specific acupuncture points to ensure the most effective treatment and help bring your body back to balance.
You will lay on a treatment table while the acupuncturist stimulates specific acupuncture points (acupoints) by inserting needles. The needles are removed after 5-20 minutes, depending on your particular health condition. Most people feel calm and relaxed during the treatment.
The number of sessions needed depends on the nature of your treatment and varies from individual to individual. Some people experience significant symptom relief already after the first appointment. However, if you suffer from a chronic condition, you may need weekly treatments over the course of several months. Your acupuncturist will propose an individualized treatment plan during your first visit.
Acupuncturists regularly use a number of other traditional Chinese medicine techniques as modalities in addition to their acupuncture treatments, such as herbal therapy, which uses a variety of herbs and natural remedies as medicine.
Other modalities include:
Moxibustion involves burning moxa, made from the dried mugwort plant, to warm acupuncture points. It is intended to stimulate circulation and induce a smoother flow of the body’s energies.
Cupping, a type of Chinese massage, consists of placing glass or plastic “cups” on the body and creating a vacuum to draw the skin up. This process opens up the skin’s pores, which helps stimulate circulation.
Tui Na massage
Tui na massage is a form of Asian bodywork therapy that combines vigorous massage, acupressure, and other types of body manipulation.
Gua Sha or scraping involves firmly rubbing the patient’s skin with the special gua sha device or a ceramic spoon. The purpose is to release any excesses in the body and stimulate healing.
Electro acupuncture consists of needles being inserted at targeted areas on the body, after which they are attached to a device that generates gentle electric impulses.
How acupuncture works
Acupuncture involves stimulation of sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles, as a result of this stimulation, the body produces natural substances, such as endorphins that can relieve pain. It's believed that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture.
Traditional acupuncture that Prof Dr Egin Can is practising, is based on the belief that an energy, or "life force", known as Qi (pronounced "chee"), flows through the body in channels called meridians.
Traditional acupuncture practitioners believe that obstacles in the flow of Qi affect wellbeing and can cause illness. Acupuncture, however, can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.
Acupuncture practitioners or acupuncturists treat a wide range of health conditions. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for the NHS on the use of treatments and care of patients and recommends acupuncture for conditions such as chronic tension-type headaches, migraines, chronic pain, such as neck pain, joint pain, dental pain, postoperative pain.
The cost of acupuncture at Sonoworld is very affordable with prices starting as low as £40 per treatment.
An acupuncture session usually lasts around 20 minutes to 1 hour and involves an assessment of your general health, medical history and a physical examination, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.
Courses of treatment often involve several separate sessions. Prof Dr Zhang will be able to advise you regarding the course of treatment you need to improve your symptoms and well being.
The acupuncture needles are inserted into specific places on the body depending on the treated conditions and symptoms, these are the acupuncture points.
During the session, you'll typically sit or lie down and asked to remove some clothes so the acupuncturist can access certain parts of your body.
The needles used are very fine, single-use and sterilised that are disposed of immediately after use.
The needles may be inserted just a few mm under the skin, or deeper to reach the muscle. The needles are left in place for a certain amount of time time that might be up to 30 minutes. Some tingling or a dull ache is normal but you should not experience pain.