Anxious? Worried? Not sleeping? Five ways acupuncture can help you cope

illustrates blog on how acupuncture can support physical and mental health during pandemic

You’re definitely not alone if you feel crushed, demoralised and emotionally emptied out by the multiple whammies of pandemic, recession, war and climate emergency – plus of course your concerns for your own life and loved ones. We’re all doing our best to hang on in there and get through it.

But how to ‘hang in there’ and ‘get though it’ when our physical and mental resources are already stretched to their limits by the last couple of years of uncertainty, fear and worry? Five element acupuncture in the 21st century draws on the deep experience of centuries of understanding of the body and mind. Here are five ways the five element traditions of healing can help you find the strength and resilience you need in the here and now.

1: Five element acupuncture is all about you. 

Some of my patients don’t want to talk beyond the bare minimum. Others need to talk everything out to reach an understanding in their own minds of what’s going on. Patient after patient tells me that they see me and my treatment room a safe place to describe what they’re going through, to ‘vent’ and express their frustration.

“It’s a huge strain keeping up a brave face,” one patient said recently, “with you, I can tell it like it is.” Tears are not unusual.

The good news is that acupuncture is about you and where you are right now. As an acupuncturist, I have the time to listen as well as the skills and knowledge that will support you to be and do your best through tough times.

2: Acupuncture is a natural pain killer for physical aches and pains, from headaches to osteoarthritis.

The mechanisms underlying acupuncture as effective pain relief have been researched in detail for more than 60 years. Researchers know that acupuncture activates the body’s own pain-killing compounds and increases the brain’s sensitivity to these naturally produced analgesics. 

3. Acupuncture encourages the release of endorphins – the body’s own feel good chemicals.

Endorphins play a key part in regulating our body’s physical response to stress – heart rate, blood pressure and our digestive system.

4. Acupuncture activates neurotransmitters encouraging rest and healing

When we’re stressed and anxious, the area of the brain called the hypothalamus releases neurochemicals that encourage our ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response. Research shows that acupuncture can quiet down this alarm system. But acupuncture delivers more. As well as switching off fight, flight and freeze, it switches on the parasympathetic nervous system – telling our bodies it’s ok to rest and to relax, which is where we need to be for the body’s healing and restorative processes to get underway.

5: Sleep. Let’s not forget sleep! Most trials have found that acupuncture is significantly more effective at helping patients with difficulty sleeping than existing conventional drugs – without their level of side effects. 

However, if you’re already taking sleeping tablets, research shows that acupuncture can safely be combined with conventional treatments for insomnia. Researchers have also found that acupuncture reduces side effects and enhances the beneficial effects of conventional sleep medications your GP may prescribe. 

For more detail on the research mentioned in this article and to find out more about how researchers assess the impact and mechanisms of acupuncture, visit the Evidence A-Z pages on the website of my professional body, the British Acupuncture

The British Acupuncture Council https://www.acupuncture.org.uk

Evidence Based Acupuncture https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org

Take the first steps to building your resilience in these tough times.

To find out more about how acupuncture can support your physical health and mental well being, all you have to do is get in touch to arrange your free short consultation.

Online or by phone, and with no obligation at all, you can ask questions about any aspect of treatment, from what to wear to your sessions to the evidence-base of cutting edge research showing how acupuncture may help you cope better with specific complaints and conditions.

email kaye@kr-acupuncture.com
 Text or phone me on 07593 058748

NICE guideline for chronic pain: painkillers out, acupuncture in

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is set to endorse acupuncture as one of only four treatment options GPs can consider prescribing for people with chronic pain conditions. From January 2021, painkillers and all other drugs, apart from anti-depressants, will be off the prescription pad menu.

This new guideline is for chronic primary pain, characterised by emotional distress and functional disability. Common conditions that would qualify are fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, chronic neck pain and chronic pelvic pain, though there are many more possibilities.

This is NICE’s first guideline for chronic pain in general, rather than a specific painful condition, though the equivalent Scottish guideline agency (SIGN) has had one for several years (and it, too, endorses acupuncture).

Which treatments are recommended by NICE in this guideline?

acupuncture

exercise: a supervised group programme, preferably followed up long-term by patients themselves

psychological therapies: specifically cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

antidepressant drugs

Ten other classes of medication were considered and rejected by NICE. These included opioids, anti-inflammatories, paracetamol, benzodiazepines and gabapentinoids: none of these were found to have evidence of benefit for chronic pain and there are possible harms associated with their use.

Research shows that acupuncture can be an effective option for chronic pain, and it’s great that NICE recognise what so many patients know from their own experience of treatment.

One of the drivers behind the NICE decision is the urgent need to cut down prescriptions of opioids and other painkillers. In the United States – where opioid addiction is having a devastating impact – acupuncture is an increasingly popular option, supported by insurance companies, and for example, a mainstream treatment on offer in healthcare services for US forces veterans .

Acupuncture is also one of the safest forms of treatment there is, when given by highly trained practitioners. I’m trained to the exacting and stringent standards of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). (That’s the membership body I belong to).

It is important to realise that this guideline for GPs excludes any condition whose pain management is addressed by existing NICE guidance – currently, for example, headaches, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, endometriosis, and IBS.

To find out more about how acupuncture can support your physical health and mental well being, all you have to do is get in touch to arrange your free short consultation.

Online or by phone, and with no obligation at all, you can ask questions about any aspect of treatment, from what to wear to your sessions to the evidence-base of cutting edge research showing how acupuncture may help you cope better with specific complaints and conditions.

email kaye@kr-acupuncture.com
 text or phone me on 07593 058748

GPs shown strong evidence for acupuncture

As part of a series of activities to mark the very first World Acupuncture Day on Thursday 15 November 2018, acupuncturists all over the UK are writing to GPs to highlight the wealth of evidence showing that acupuncture is a valid healthcare choice.

This comes as chronic underfunding and workforce shortages have led to enormous pressure on the NHS, with clinicians struggling to meet rising demand.

Head of research at the British Acupuncture Council, Mark Bovey, says Chinese medicine is a viable option and could help the NHS deal with some of pressures on staff and facilities we’re all so concerned about : ‘More than 1,000 studies are carried out globally each year into the effectiveness of acupuncture, so evidence is emerging all the time to show that it works.

‘The evidence is particularly strong in the treatment of pain. One in five people in Europe live with moderate to severe chronic pain, and research shows that acupuncture can make a real difference to patients with low back pain, headache and migraine and osteoarthritis. In some cases it has even been shown to be more effective than pharmaceuticals.

‘Moreover, the world is also grappling with rising problem of opioid addiction, so clinicians have a real opportunity to explore other treatment options for pain.

‘There is also clinical evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating anxiety, which research suggests affects up to one in three people, and a whole range of other conditions such as infertility, constipation, rhinitis and depression.

‘If GPs referred patients for acupuncture for just some of these conditions, the pressure on the health service would be dramatically alleviated.’

World Acupuncture Day will be officially celebrated in Paris at a global conferencein UNESCO House, where more than 1,000 leading health professionals and researchers from around the world will exchange knowledge, skills and practices in acupuncture and moxibustion.

The event will showcase the latest scientific and clinical research that demonstrates the effectiveness of acupuncture in a wide range of conditions.

I’m a member of the British Acupuncture Council, whose voluntary register is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. My membership of this register demonstrates my commitment to high professional standards, to enhancing safety and delivering a better service. 

Please be aware:

  • You do not need a GP referral to seek treatment.
  • While many health insurance policies meet all or some of the cost of acupuncture, some may require a GP referral.
  • The NHS does not currently meet the costs of private acupuncture treatment.

To find out more about how acupuncture can support your physical health and mental well being, all you have to do is get in touch to arrange your free short consultation.

Online or by phone, and with no obligation at all, you can ask questions about any aspect of treatment, from what to wear to your sessions to the evidence-base of cutting edge research showing how acupuncture may help you cope better with specific complaints and conditions.

email kaye@kr-acupuncture.com
 text or phone me on 07593 058748