Acupuncture is an ancient system of medicine originating in China. The earliest records of its use date back five thousand years. Doctors visiting China bought acupuncture to the west in the twenty century. They were amazed to see operations performed on fully conscious patients using acupuncture as an aesthetic.

How many people benefit from acupuncture?

Over two million treatments are currently given each year in Britain alone. It is a therapy which is growing in popularity.

How does it differ from Western medicine?

Chinese medicine describes the processes inside and outside the body in energetic terms. Western medicine describes physiological processes of the body in terms of biochemical changes that occur and how they influence the actions of organs.

Chinese energetic terms refer to vital energy (qi), which travels through your body along pathways called meridians. When you are in good health the flow of qi is smooth and uninterrupted, but when illness strikes this flow is disturbed.

Acupuncture is particularly effective for those conditions which Western medicine finds difficult to treat.

How does acupuncture work?

An acupuncturist stimulates precise points along the meridians to restore your flow of energy and return you to full health. Many people actually describe a tingling sensation along the exact pathway of a meridian, without even knowing it exists.

Acupuncture also works on the physical level. A patient arriving with a headache, or stomach ache may well witness the pain fade away through the course of a treatment.

Acupuncture works on the emotional level. It is deeply relaxing. Have you ever wanted to change places with someone who always looks really chilled and happy? Acupuncture can change your own paradigm, from before treatment, to after treatment. Things that bothered you before treatment, suddenly seem no longer such a big deal. Equally, motivation which seemed disturbed to muster, post treatment seemed to flow easily, and direction and focus became re-aligned.

Improvement to symptoms may hold for the longer term, or they may come back within a week. However with on-going treatment it is likely that symptoms will improve, if not disappear in the long-term.

I have always found it bizarre, and had distrust for the Chinese acupuncture shops in the high street. How could acupuncture, cure a whole list of ailments. However, now I have studied and witnessed its effectiveness, I understand, it can do all it purports to do.

Acupuncture is particularly effective for physical complaints: migraine and headaches, gynecological problems, pain in any part of the body, skin complaints, and emotional imbalances: depression, grief, fear, anger.

The WHO (World Health Organization) now recommends anyone with back pain should be referred to an acupuncturist (or physio) for a series of ten treatments before medical tests are carried out.

I also believe anyone with depression should also be referred to ten treatments of acupuncture before anti-depressants are prescribed. That's not to say pharmacies do not have a place, but it would be nice to find a solutions, rather than a plaster over the wound.