Earlier this year NICE published their updated guidance for the treatment of chronic pain, which was revised because of the need to decrease the prescription of opioid painkillers.
The good news is that these guidelines recommend a course of acupuncture treatment for chronic primary pain (i.e. pain ‘with no clear underlying cause, or pain (or its impact) that is out of proportion to any observable injury or disease’ *)
This recommendation was based on the strength of modern evidence that acupuncture is effective for pain relief - in fact it was found to be more conclusive than the evidence for opioid painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications and paracetamol.
And a big plus for acupuncture is that it does not have potentially harmful side effects.
We are very pleased to see acupuncture beginning to receive the recognition it deserves and look forward to helping many people overcome chronic pain in future.
* NICE guideline [NG193] Published: 07 April 2021
It has been widely stated that in the majority of people who have a healthy immune system, COVID-19 will be a relatively mild illness, but what can you do at this time to help to support your immune system?
As a professional acupuncturist, this is an area where I can make some suggestions, based on Chinese Medicine theory.
Firstly, it’s really important that whilst socially isolating, you have an appropriate balance of activity, rest and sleep. So resist the temptation to stay up late at night watching box sets; try to get a regular 7-8 hours of quality sleep.
Avoid staying in bed until late in the morning too. Morning is the best time of day to practise meditation or mindfulness exercises, both of which can be helpful in dealing with the stress of all the current uncertainties in our lives.
And make sure you do some kind of exercise each day. Going for a walk outside in the fresh air is ideal, if you are able to do this. If not, try to do some activity within the home. There are lots of ideas springing up on line for how to do this, have fun and connect with others.
What we eat is really important in helping to support our immunity. In Chinese Medicine, the immune system is referred to as ‘Wei Qi’. This is understood to be created by the combination of Kidney Yang and Stomach Fluids. So foods which support these aspects of our constitution should be favoured.
These include moistening breakfasts like porridge and slowly cooked foods such as soups and stews. Avoid processed foods and sugar and also avoid cold, uncooked foods, especially whilst the weather remains cold. Plenty of vegetables, with as wide a variety as possible, are a good idea as they contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Having more time at home will give us all the opportunity to cook wholesome, fresh meals.
This is proving to be a very difficult time for everyone, but following a few simple guidelines to take care of ourselves will help us to cope better in the long run.
Acupuncture is an increasingly popular treatment and the variety of practitioners advertising it’s availability can be confusing. So the aim of this post is to help you choose the right practitioner for your needs.
Acupuncture is not a regulated profession in the UK, so in theory, anyone can set themselves up as an acupuncture practitioner having received minimal training. Fortunately, there are a number of voluntary regulatory bodies with whom practitioners can register to give the public a degree of quality assurance. It is a good idea to check which of these bodies a practitioner you are considering visiting is registered with, and to avoid receiving treatment from anyone who is not registered at all.
The training requirements in acupuncture of the 5 main regulatory bodies are very different though, and are summarised below. (1)
British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS):
State registered western medicine professionals, such as GPs
Training in acupuncture techniques. No training in Chinese medicine (CM) theory required
Minimum 30 hours
British Academy of Western Medical Acupuncturists (BAWMA):
State registered medical professionals, eg. nurses and midwives
Training in acupuncture techniques. No training in CM theory required
Minimum around 84 hours
Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP):
Training in acupuncture techniques. May include some basic CM theory
Minimum around 300 hours
Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM):
Chinese medicine professionals; acupuncturists, herbalists and Tuina practitioners
Training in acupuncture and CM theory
Minimum 3000 hours
British Acupuncture Council (BAcC):
Training in acupuncture and CM theory and western medicine physiology and pathology.
(The only regulatory body to meet WHO standards for training in acupuncture)
Minimum 3500 hours (degree level) plus minimum 30 hours per year continued training.
Most people who practice acupuncture will describe themselves as practising either western medical acupuncture or traditional acupuncture. So what’s the difference? It really comes down to training and approach.
British Acupuncture Council registered traditional acupuncturists are trained in both western medicine physiology and pathology and Chinese medicine theory and will usually use the latter when deciding which acupoints to treat.
Western medical acupuncturists are trained western medicine professionals who have undertaken additional training to enable them to use acupuncture techniques, but they won’t necessarily have any knowledge of the Chinese medicine theory upon which acupuncture is based.
You may sometimes come across western medical acupuncture being described as being based on modern scientific research evidence, but it is important to note that most modern research into acupuncture is actually carried out by fully trained traditional acupuncturists. (2)
Hopefully you can now choose your acupuncturist from a more informed viewpoint to make sure you see the right practitioner for your needs. If you would like to know more about traditional acupuncture and the related therapies available at Teesdale Acupuncture, please use the contact page on this website.
(1) Source https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCodokv9kEQoS0NppSN0Q2Sg
(2) MacPherson, H. (professor of acupuncture research, York University) keynote lecture at BAcC conference 2016.