A lot of people seek acupuncture to help relieve specific conditions, especially pain conditions such as tension headaches, migraines, neck or back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee and temporomandibular joint pain.
Clinical trials have shown that acupuncture does relieve these symptoms, at least in the short term.
Whatever your particular problem, because treatment is designed to affect your whole body and not just your symptoms, you may notice other niggling complaints also get better with a course of treatment. Indeed, some people choose acupuncture when they feel their bodily functions are out of balance, but they have no obvious diagnosis.
Once tried, many people have regular or ‘top-up’ treatments because they find it so beneficial and relaxing. For some conditions, such as migraine, acupuncture can be given to prevent flare-ups from occurring. People also have acupuncture for other health problems.
For example, there is clinical evidence that acupuncture provides short-term relief for overactive bladder syndrome. Another benefit of acupuncture is that it can be given alongside other therapies and/ or medication, in almost all circumstances.
Researchers can only draw firm conclusions about whether acupuncture is effective or not when high quality evidence is available. In the last decade, the evidence regarding some chronic pain conditions has become much stronger. Based on this evidence, in 2017, the National Institute for Health and Research issued a Signal (a short summary of recently published research) that acupuncture was effective for some chronic pain and was not a placebo. However, for many conditions there are simply not enough good quality clinical trials for researchers to draw firm conclusions. You can see more research on The British Acupuncture Council Website A-Z of acupuncture evidence
We also recommend that you speak to your GP.
Acupuncture is currently included in the following National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines:
Headaches in over 12s: diagnosis and management (CG150)
As a natural form of healing, acupuncture has the following benefits:
- provides drug-free pain relief from a wide range of acute and chronic ailments
- treats the underlying cause of disease and illness as well as the symptoms
- provides a holistic approach to the treatment of disease and illness, treating the body, mind and spirit.
- assists in the prevention of disease and the maintenance of general well-being
The sensation of acupuncture can feel like a numb, tingling, or dull aching sensation which lasts only for a few moments. Most patients are obviously a little anxious before their first session but are pleasantly surprised at how painless it is and how relaxed they feel afterwards.
I had been struggling with hip pain for some months and approached my GP for help, explaining that I was keen to avoid taking too many powerful painkillers, if at all possible.
My GP recommended acupuncture and so (possibly with a little initial scepticism) I booked a first session with Clare (she had all of the professional qualifications and is a member of the British Acupuncture Council).
Clare’s acupuncture treatment was absolutely transformative in terms of the pain radiating from my hip from the very first session.
– Cathy L