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Time For Hayfever Treatment

April 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Acupuncture

Some people started to notice hayfever symptoms starting a few weeks ago. For many, their symptoms won’t start until May, June or July. The symptoms of hayfever are debilitating for many- itchy throat, runny nose, watering eyes, blocked sinuses and causing asthma to escalate. If you have symptoms consider booking in for treatment now. If you expect them to start in  the next few months, consider treatement now to prevent symptoms from occurring.

Acupuncture can offer a medication free and non-drowsy way to combat symptoms. Usually a course of treatment is recommended- that’s an average of 6 sessions, attending once a week. Sometimes people respond quicker than this. Last year, Paul, who had suffered form hayfever all his life and usually spent May-September struggling, responded so quickly that he only needed two sessions and was completely symptom free and able to enjoy his summer.

The British Acupuncture Council, our regulatory body, has produced a fact sheet on hayfever, or allergic rhinitis. Click here to learn more.

To try natural remedies to combat symptoms, click here to read more from the College of Naturopathic Medicine (scroll down the article list).

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Battlefield Acupuncture

March 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Acupuncture

I’m really excited to be training in the new technique of ‘battlefield acupuncture’ this weekend. The technique is being widely used in many divisions within the US military and is seen as a therapeutic technique for pain and post traumatic stress. It involves using 5 tiny acupuncture needles in each ear so is easy to carry out.

Although I don’t treat many military personnel, I’m hoping that the technique may offer some patients an easy and comfortable treatment to combat stress and pain.

Read more here.


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Cambridge Scientists Film Embryo Implantation For The First Time

March 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Fertility & Pregnancy

A Cambridge scientist has completed a five year project in which she has been able to film embryo implantation occuring for the first time. Although it is in a mouse rather than a women, the technology will allow for advancements to occur in processes such as IVF, in which implantation is not well understood.

Watch more here.


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What Is Traditional Acupuncture?

March 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Acupuncture

A post by the British Acupuncture Council (my regulatory body) explains the difference between ‘traditional acupuncturists’ and ‘dry needling’ or ‘western acupuncturists’.

Two main groups of health professionals employ acupuncture techniques in their clinical work. The main group are professional traditional acupuncturists who have normally completed a 3,500 hour, degree level training in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation. The training includes the study of conventional clinical sciences as well as formal instruction in an authentic holistic tradition of a medical practice that has been established in China over the last 2,500 years. This is the style of acupuncture recognised by many governments which have legal licensing of its practice, such as those of China, Japan, Australia and the US. Traditional acupuncture is practiced by over 1 million acupuncturists worldwide. The other group consists of conventional medical practitioners such as doctors, physiotherapists and nurses who also use needling methods as an adjunct to their professional practice. This new form of acupuncture, often called dry needling, has also become known as Western Medical Acupuncture.

Both styles of practice are governed by their own professional bodies. The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is the leading self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture in the UK. It was formed in 1995 from five precursor bodies, the oldest of which was established in the early 60s. It now has over 3000 members. The first and foremost aim of the council is to protect and safeguard the public interest by maintaining high standards of education, ethics, discipline and safe practice amongst its members. BAcC-registered acupuncturists are trained in relevant aspects of Western medicine including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathology. This enables the properly trained and qualified professional acupuncturist to recognise when it is in the patient’s best interest to be referred on for other specialist care.

Training standards in traditional acupuncture at most of the UK University and College courses are assessed and guaranteed by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board. Details of these courses and the accreditation process can be found at

Registered practitioners in conventional medicine, mostly doctors and physiotherapists are overseen by the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) which was founded in 1980 to encourage the use of dry needling acupuncture techniques, and by the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) established as a special interest group within the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP). Doctors and physios are eligible to join these bodies on completion of accredited programmes, but these are postgraduate courses of much shorter duration than traditional acupuncture training. The acupuncture or dry needling taught in these courses is seen very much as a limited technique within the wider scope of practice of the professionals who use it.

What actually is it about traditional acupuncture which makes it entirely different from what conventional medical professionals do? ‘Traditional’ means that the practitioner is trained to use an approach to diagnosis and treatment that has evolved over the past few thousand years in China, Japan and other countries of East Asia. It is an authentic medical tradition which explains how each person’s symptoms and signs can be interpreted to establish a diagnosis of the underlying imbalances in their overall patterns of health and well-being. Each and every piece of information is relevant to building up this picture, and that can include changes seen in the complexion, in body shape and movement, changes in the tongue and information gained from palpation of the pulse and the body as a whole. This is a very heuristic and patient-centered approach that leads to a formal diagnosis in the technical terms of traditional Chinese medicine.

Once the practitioner has diagnosed the nature and cause of the imbalance a treatment plan will be devised which will be unique and specific to the patient. The treatment is then carried out by inserting ultra fine sterile disposable needles into selected acupuncture points on the body. Traditionally-trained acupuncturists may also use a heat treatment (moxabustion), cupping therapy or other forms of physical stimulation.

Whilst there is still a great deal of scope for more studies to be done, over 10,000 clinical trials into acupuncture have already been published and a great deal is known about the way that it works.

The British Acupuncture Council has produced a series of Fact Sheets, published on its website, ( on the effectiveness of acupuncture in addressing a number of conditions, and these all include an extensive discussion of the evidence available. Each year 2.3 million traditional acupuncture treatments are carried out in the UK, making it one of the most popular complementary therapies. The National Institute for Health Care Excellence, NICE, in 2009, based on the evidence available, recommended the use of acupuncture as a treatment option for lower back pain and in 2012 for migraines and tension type headaches.

To find a properly qualified acupuncturist or to ask a question about traditional acupuncture please visit

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Acupuncture For Prisoners With Drug Problems

March 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Uncategorised

The Daily Mail has reported that acupuncture is being offered to prisoners with a history of drug use as part of a bid to combat their offending behaviour patterns.

Offering this service was my introduction to acupuncture. Whilst working as the manager for the Drug Support Team in local prisons we were asked to provide a simple ear acupuncture programme to prisoners who had previously or were still using illicit substances. We were trained up to deliver groups to prisoners in which 5 tiny needles were placed in each ear. The needles were to offer relaxation, support the liver, lungs and kidneys and to work on the brain and break the pattern of addiction. As a team, we and the priosn officers were staggered by the results. Not only were prisoners not using drugs but officers reported that those who had ear acupuncture were calmer on the wings. They were more likely to volunteer to work on their offending behaviour by signing up to groups designed to reduce the risk of them reoffending. So it seemed that not only did the acupuncture make people relaxed, it also upped their motivation to change.

It was 3 years later, that I decided to re-train as an acupuncturist and I’m glad that I was part of something so groundbreaking and that this gave me the insight into what acupuncture could offer.


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