Acupuncture originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. It is one of the key parts of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This ancient system of medicine involves the insertion of very fine needles at specific points in the body. This is a painless and generally safe therapy with few adverse effects. There are many acupuncturists in Essex, but it is essential to use a qualified therapist registered with one of the UK bodies of professional acupuncturists to ensure best practice is followed and there is no risk of improperly sterilized needles.
According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy – known as qi – moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of meridians (channels) beneath the skin. The needling is targeted to about 360 specific ‘acupoints’ along these channels. The flow of qi can be disturbed by many factors, physical, mental and emotional: anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary factors, infections, poisons and trauma. By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response and help to restore its natural balance.
Western or medical acupuncture is a more recent development practised predominantly by doctors and physiotherapists using acupuncture techniques within their existing scope of practice on the basis of a western medical diagnosis. It is used in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics and hospices in the UK.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for the NHS on the use of treatments and care of patients and currently only recommends acupuncture as a treatment option for chronic tension-type headaches and migraine. However, acupuncture is also often used to treat other musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including chronic pain, joint pain, dental pain and post-operative pain.