What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into various parts of the body is the simplest response to what is acupuncture. It works by stimulating a biological response network, called the meridian system.

There are many different interpretations and methodologies of acupuncture practice.

What is acupuncture: the difference between Chinese and Western acupuncture

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has approximately 5000 years of history based on the concept of Qi or the energy flow which runs throughout the meridian system.
  • Western acupuncture is based on the release of chemicals in the nervous system some of which are pain relieving and healing.
  • There are also other different schools of acupuncture, such as Five Element, Japanese, Korean, Microsystem acupuncture etc. These all explore different Chinese medical theories.

Who should have acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been proven to be an effective tool for treating disease and address health concerns like pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, migraines and fertility issues.

Some caution needs to be considered in some cases however. If you suffer from any of the conditions below, you should inform your practitioner prior to the acupuncture treatment:

  • You have metal allergies (specifically stainless steel)
  • You have severe needle phobia, where there are previous incidents of fainting
  • You have a contagious infection.
  • You have any kind of bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning (anticoagulant) medication.
  • You have extremely sensitive skin you are aware that bruises easily
  • You have a fragile skin condition in the area to be treated.
  • You suffer from epilepsy (seizures)
  • You have a heart pacemaker
  • You have diabetes

These conditions do not exclude you from having acupuncture in most circumstances but it is important to let your practitioner know in advance so you can get the appropriate guidance for the best therapeutic results.

In addition, you need to inform your practitioner about all medications you may be taking including, western medicines, herbs, nutritional supplements, homeopathic medication and/or any other treatments you may be having at the same time with your acupuncture.

Your practitioner needs to be aware, so they may treat you appropriately and recommend or prescribe a biochemically compatible herbal prescription or recommend the correct supplements you may need without the risk of any interference.

A treatment with your Chinese medical practitioner may also involve physical manipulation (Tui Na or Shiatsu/acupressure/stretching), therefore it’s important to mention any musculoskeletal concerns in advance, so your therapist can address and advise accordingly.

Acupuncture and fertility

Acupuncture is a very helpful therapeutic tool to help with conception and also facilitate the healthy progression of pregnancy.

If you’re looking to find out more about what is acupuncture and how it relates to fertility, then read how Dr John Tsagaris helped model Ruth Crilly with a treatment of acupuncture for fertility.

During pregnancy, the most frequent problems addressed with acupuncture are lower backache, stiffness, nausea, lack of energy, sleeping issues, appetite management and skin breakouts amongst others.

At the clinic we have a specialist associate practitioner who can answer your questions about what is acupuncture and who specialises in the practice during and after pregnancy. The practitioner can also refer you to a clinical inhouse nutritionist or chiropractor to help you with any nutritional or other health concerns during pregnancy.

Acupuncture and pregnancy issues

Some pregnancy related problems have been thoroughly researched and brought brilliant results in clinical practice:

  • Acupuncture for morning sickness: Research studies suggest that acupuncture using Traditional Chinese acupuncture points located near the wrists can reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness. Find out more about acupuncture and morning sickness.
  • Acupuncture for lower back and pelvic pain: A prospective, quasi- randomised, controlled study reported that lower back and pelvic pain are common in pregnancy and drug therapy should be avoided if possible.
    In controlled trials, it’s been found that acupuncture is superior to either physiotherapy or additional care. This study of 61 women adds additional evidence to the positive affects and safety of acupuncture in lower back and pelvic pain in pregnancy. Find out more about acupuncture for low back pain during pregnancy.
  • Acupuncture for depression: Depression and anxiety during pregnancy can affect women during this fragile period.
    Studies from Beijing University of TCM observed clinically-depressed pregnant women who weren’t on any previous anti-depressant medication and illustrated that acupuncture can be very effective. They received general acupuncture, acupuncture specific for depression and associated anxiety. The severity of the depression decreased mostly amongst women who received acupuncture. Find out more about acupuncture for depression amongst pregnant women
  • Acupuncture for headaches: Numerous studies support acupuncture for pregnancy-induced headaches. Acupuncture notably reduced the headaches and the women who received it also used less medication if any at all.
    Additional research supports that acupuncture is an effective alternative to medication for the treatment of migraines. Acupuncture demonstrates superior positive patient outcomes in both short and long-term results. Find out more about acupuncture and migraines.
  • Sleep problems: A study of 192 pregnant women found that 88% experienced changes in their sleep patterns. Falling asleep and staying asleep can be problematic during pregnancy and can generate energy drops during the day. Recent research has shown that women who received acupuncture improved sleep quality and consistency during pregnancy.

Pregnant women often suffer from the following which should also be flagged up before any treatment:

  • High/low blood pressure: Your practitioner needs to know so they can address the issue within the treatment. Find out how acupuncture can help regulate blood pressure.
  • Anxiety: It’s important to mention if you suffer from anxiety attacks so your practitioner can use the appropriate treatment to alleviate the underlying causes. Find out how acupuncture helps anxiety.
  • Tiredness/glucose abnormalities: Acupuncture may interfere with glucose fluctuations and infuse serum glucose. The practitioner needs to make sure that you have some food prior to the treatment as significant low glucose may feel unpleasant for a few minutes until the body auto-regulates itself. Find out about tiredness and acupuncture.

Other pregnancy-related issues acupuncture can successfully address are as follows:

  • Constipation
  • Tender breasts
  • Migraine and other types of headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Pelvic pain (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)
  • Varicose veins
  • Digestive issues
  • Natural labour induction

If you would be interested to find out more or book an initial consultation with the highly acclaimed Dr (TCM) John Tsagaris, please contact us via:

Phone: 0203 489 9779
info@johntsagaris.co.uk