It’s easy to feel like running off the operating table when you’ve just undergone local anesthesia and part of you is exposed. *raising my hand in guilt*
But how scary is acupuncture? The ancient art can’t be all that bad if it is still done today. Some supporters believe it cures every ailment. Others don’t want to try: the needles everywhere, feeling somewhat like me when I felt literally exposed.
The only way to learn for myself was asking West London acupuncturist Tamzin Freeman.
What’s it all about?
“The Chinese practiced acupuncture over two thousand years ago! They got it;’ we are just vibrating particles of energy. If people are just a ‘ball of energy.’ it makes sense that illness is a disruption of energy,” she says.
“To an acupuncturist, if we get ill, our energy is blocked. Go one further, if we are not attracting what we want in our lives, that too is an energetic block. So, change your internal energy and your health radiates, and your desires flourish. Acupuncture is a tool to rebalance your internal energy to achieve this.”
“In my own clinic, I find ‘stress’ is the common cause of all ailments.”
“Acupuncture works both on physical symptoms and emotional symptoms. Sometimes, feeling good is a weird sensation for those who are continually stressed. After treatment, a patient might say – ‘I just feel different … and somehow things are just flowing!'”
It’s a maze.
“Acupuncture,” Freeman tells me, “stimulates channels of energy (meridians), running through the body. Each meridian is named according to the organ whose energy influences it, so the Liver channel, Gall Bladder channel, Stomach channel, Heart channel, etc. Associated with each organ are a physiological function and an emotional pattern. So, for example, the Liver is associated with menstrual cramps, headaches, and feeling wound-up, angry or frustrated. Acupuncture will treat the Liver disharmony so the cramps, headaches and wound-up feelings disappear.”
A few conditions won’t find positive changes.
“There are few conditions that can’t be treated by acupuncture, WHO (the World Health Organisation) has a list of diseases or symptoms for which acupuncture has proven to be effective.”
But good news! She says many things can be helped with acupuncture!
“Commonly treated in my own clinic are: IBS, gynaecological issues, headaches, pain, anxiety and depression.”
ALL RIGHT! GET TO IT…What does it feel like? *gulp*
“You may feel a dull ache, or a tingle when the needle is inserted. The needle is very fine, about the width of a shaft of hair – finer than a pin. It bears no resemblance to a hypodermic needle, and any anticipated fears are unrealised. With the pins positioned, you will start to feel heavy and deeply relaxed – symptoms and anxiety melt away.”
All right. This sounds a lot better than being opened up on an operating table while awake! *relief*
What can we expect from treatment?
“You will generally notice a difference physically and emotionally from just one treatment. For some the effect is immediate, for others it may take 24-48 hours. Depending on symptoms a series of treatments are recommended, each treatment building on the next.”
References and more information
Freeman recommended some additional resources for anyone thinking about the treatment.
“The British Acupuncture Council is the regulating body in the UK. They provide a list of qualified acupuncturists (a highly demanding, rigorous training of over 3,600 hours), they also provide further research on acupuncture for specific conditions,” she says.
I’ve always been interested in old Asian health methods, such as drinking oolong tea for health benefits and beauty. I’m willing to try acupuncture this year! What about you? Are you interested now that you read up on it?