What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted into the skin at certain “Chi” points on the body.

It is a complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). This means that acupuncture is dissimilar in many ways from parts of orthodox western medicine. The use of acupuncture is not always based on scientific evidence, unlike conventional treatments.

The Theory

Acupuncture is founded on the belief that vitality or ‘life force’ flows throughout the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced ‘chee’).

There are Practitioners who follow traditional beliefs about acupuncture. They believe that illness can occur when Qi cannot flow freely through the body. They also have confidence in that acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and in turn reinstate good health.

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Most scientists believe that acupuncture may stimulate nerves and muscle tissue, and that this may be responsible for any positive effects.

Its Uses

Practitioners – called acupuncturists – use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health disorders. It is often used to treat pain illnesses such as headache, lower back pain and dental pain, but is also commonly used against conditions ranging from infertility to anxiety and asthma.

In the UK, the availability of acupuncture on the NHS is limited. Almost all patients pay for private treatment.

If you choose to have acupuncture, make sure that your acupuncturist is fully qualified and practises the treatment under safe and hygienic conditions.

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