The practice of Acupuncture is without doubt the best known traditional form of Chinese medicine practised in the West. It is based on the idea that the body is divided up by distinct energy or qi (also spelled ki or chi) pathways known as 'meridians'. Energy flows along the meridians and illness is seen as an imbalance in or disruption to the flow of energy along the meridian lines.

Acupuncturists use fine, sterile needles inserted into the body at key points along the meridians in order to regulate and alter energy flow to restore good health and well being. Needles are usually left in situ for approximately 20 minutes, although in some cases this may be longer. Often the needles are stimulated by twirling or lifting. Sometimes moxa herb is burnt of the needle head.

Concern over HIV and cross infection means that the vast majority of practitioners use disposable needles which are used once and then destroyed.

Does it Hurt?

When the needle is inserted ino the body, the most common sensations are a dull ache or a tingling. The Practitioner will move the needle about until satisfied that the energy channel has been located.

How Long Does it Take?

A treatment will usually last approximately 45 minutes with the number and frequency of treatments varying depending on the nature of the presenting problem. Typically a client will expect to receive regular weekly treatment over a 10 - 15 week period.

Practitioners and Training Course information

The British Medical Acupuncture Society is a registered charity established to encourage the use and scientific understanding of acupuncture within medicine for the public benefit. It seeks to enhance the education and training of suitably qualified practitioners, and to promote high standards of working practices in acupuncture.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is the leading self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture in the UK. With around 3,000 members, they are the largest body of professional acupuncturists in the UK.

Use their web sites for more information, to find a practitioner or enquire about training courses.