Acupuncture is safe, effective and regulated. Make sure you find the right practitioner for your condition
For certain conditions, acupuncture can be very effective both on its own and integrated with conventional medicine, but who does it benefit and under what conditions?
Although many believe that acupuncture provides a placebo effect, it is actually widely considered to be beneficial for a range of symptoms resulting from illness, certain conditions or to improve general feelings of wellbeing and help with relaxation.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on best practice recommend that GPs offer a course of 10 sessions of acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain.
Other conditions which can be treated successfully with acupuncture include nausea, vomiting, dental pain, and the temporary relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee (along with exercise and conventional medicine) and short-term relief of tension headaches and migraine-type headaches.
Many women are recommended to sign up for a course of acupuncture to help with fertility problems or while they are undergoing IVF.
According to two studies published in the British Medical Journal (2001), the risk of serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than one in 10,000.
In a poll of 3,000 people for the British Acupuncture Council, nearly 17% of people questioned were put off having acupuncture because they didn’t think it was regulated. Around 14% said they felt it was unsafe.
In fact, acupuncture practitioners must seek a licence to practise from local councils before they begin treatments.
Acupuncturists need to have first-degree level qualifications and adhere to codes of safe practice and professional conduct in order to be registered and insured by the British Acupuncture Council. The Council guarantees excellence in training, safe practice and professional conduct so make sure you look for a practitioner who has British Acupuncture Council membership.
More than a quarter of people surveyed said they were put off having acupuncture because they thought it would be painful. In fact, acupuncture needles are the same width as a human hair and some are just 0.13mm in length. Most people find acupuncture to be relaxing rather than painful; patients often describe the needle sensation as a tingling or dull ache.
Visit www.introducingacupuncture.co.uk for more information and to find a registered member of the British Acupuncture Council in your area.
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