Is 2020 getting you down? Hang in there! 5 ways acupuncture can help you cope

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

Here in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its serial lockdowns, widespread economic distress, and desperate concern for our loved ones, sky-high levels of worry and distress are doing serious damage to our mental and physical wellbeing.

You’re definitely not alone if you feel close to being crushed, demoralised and emotionally emptied out by all of the above. We’re all doing our best to hang on in there. And as my neighbour said to me just yesterday, “the only way out is to get through it.”

But how to ‘hang in there’ and ‘get though it’ when our physical and mental resources are stretched by months 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. 

Take the first steps to building your resilience in these tough times. Chat with me about acupuncture can help you hang in there – call me on 07593 058748.

Join my 8pm Monday relax class. The first three sessions are free. It’s on Zoom (you don’t need an account to join), and in 30 minutes of calm you’ll learn some simple relaxation techniques that will help you through the rest of the week. Email me to get your link: kaye@kr-acupuncture.com

For more detail on the research mentioned in this article and to find out more about the evidence base for acupuncture in general, visit:

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

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

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.

 

Your GP can refer you to me… with confidence.

I’m a member of the British Acupuncture Council, which is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. That means I’m approved by the General Medical Council for referral of patients by GPs.

Ask your GP about being referred for acupuncture.

Please be aware:

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

Read  more on the evidence for acupuncture:

Anxiety

Depression

Fertility and IVF

Hayfever and rhinitis

Pain – including for headaches, low back pain, knee, shoulder and neck pain and osteoarthritis