Acupuncture is a system of healing which has been practiced in China for thousands of years, and is now widely practiced in the West. Classical acupuncture theory asserts that by inserting fine needles into the channels of energy which flow around the body, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body's own healing response and help restore its natural balance. Modern research has shown that acupuncture can affect the body's pain modulating systems and also that it is effective in treating pain and a wide variety of other complaints. It is now practiced in 80% of NHS pain management clinics.
What Acupuncture can do to help you
The following list, although not comprehensive, shows some conditions commonly treated:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Back pain
- Sequalae of stroke
- Respiratory conditions
- Skin disorders
- Headaches and migraines
- Digestive and bowel problems
- Urinary conditions
- Gynaecological conditions
- Depression and stress
The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating these and other conditions is discussed in more detail on the
During the first consultation, which takes up to an hour and a half, a full medical history is taken, the acupuncturist also takes the pulses on both wrists and examines the tongue. A diagnosis is then made, and treatment begins. Acupuncture needles are fine and solid, rather than hollow, causing a minimum of discomfort. When they are inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache. During treatment, patients often experience a pleasant feeling of relaxation.
Acupuncture has few side effects however occasionally symptoms may worsen slightly for a day or two, before improvement begins. Many people find that they have more energy and sleep better. Progress may be gradual or rapid, this depends on the nature and duration of the problem as well as the individual's constitution. Treatment usually takes place once a week and becomes less frequent as improvements in health develop. A course of acupuncture can typically take up to ten treatments, but will vary according to individual circumstances. For the treatment of some long term conditions, monthly maintenance consultations are recommended.
About your therapist
Matthew McGuire BA PGDip MBAcC. After setting up and running a food retailing company, Matthew went on to work for the Social Services in Nottingham. He first worked for the Youth Offending Teams before becoming a residential social worker. He has practiced acupuncture since 2005, having qualified at the Northern College of Acupuncture in York. He is a member of the