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The Gaia Centre for Holistic Therapy,

17 Frederick Street,



LE11 3BH

Tel: 01509 551513


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Acupuncture Acupuncture Meridians

Many practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. This stimulation appears to boost the activity of your body's endorphins and increase blood flow. Science cannot yet explain everything about acupuncture, and further research is required before it can be fully understood.

Effects of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate your immune system and affect your circulation, blood pressure, the rhythm and stroke volume of your heart, secretion of gastric acid, and production of red and white cells. It also stimulates the release of a variety of hormones that help your body to respond to injury and stress.

What can Acupuncture do for me? The healing applications of Acupuncture

Though Acupuncture seems to be useful as a stand-alone treatment, it is increasingly being used in conjunction with more conventional Western medical treatments. Doctors sometimes combine acupuncture and drugs to control post-operative pain (esp dental) and alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Studies suggest that acupuncture may offer symptomatic relief for a variety of diseases and conditions these include easing the symptoms of low back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, migraines, neck ache, and osteoarthritis. It also appears to offer relief for tennis elbow, bursitis, psoriasis (skin disorders), allergies, and asthma, chronic menstrual cramps. Increasingly women are choosing to have acupuncture to support them throughout pregnancy, labour and after giving birth. The following is a list of disorders that can be treated by acupuncture (World Health Organisation data):


Conjunctivitis (pinkeye), Nearsightedness (in children), Cataract (without complications).


Toothache, post extraction pain, Gingivitis (gum disease), Acute and Chronic Pharyngitis.


Bronchitis, Bronchial Asthma, Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Tonsillitis, and the common cold.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Hiccups, Gastritis, Gastric Hyperacidity, Ulcers, Colitis, Constipation, Diarrhea, Paralytic Ileus.

Neurological and Musculoskeletal Disorders

Headache and migraine, Trigeminal neuralgia, Paralysis following stroke, Meniere's disease, Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, Nocturnal enuresis (bed wetting), Intercostal neuralgia (pain in the ribs), Cervicobrachial syndrome (pain radiating from neck to arm), Frozen shoulder or Tennis elbow, Sciatica, Low back pain, Osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture has also found to be effective for the treatment of mind-body disorders such as anxiety, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, insomnia, PMT, menopausal symptoms, and depression. Some modern applications of acupuncture lie in the treatment of disorders such as alcoholism, substance addiction, smoking, and eating disorders.

Is Acupuncture painful?

Of all the questions and myths that have been answered about acupuncture over the years, whether or not acupuncture is painful is probably the most notable. Many potential clients to acupuncture shy away from the treatment simply because of the images of other acupuncture patients pricked full of tiny needles. But as hurtful and painful as those images may appear, most who have visited an acupuncturist will agree that there is very little pain involved.

Acupuncturists report that only a very small fraction of people complain of pain; some 95 - 98 % of people feel no pain. Yet, if you ask people if they can feel the needle, 80% will say yes. They feel something, but it's not painful. It would seem though that psychological images that potential clients have about acupuncture can sometimes affect their first session. Our advice is, go into your session with an open mind about the entire process.

So what does it feel like?

Acupuncture needles are much finer than needles used for injections and blood tests. For those still nervous about the procedure here is one of our client’s description of exactly what the needle feels like once inserted into an acupuncture point. “When the needle is inserted, the sensation is a like a tiny tingling or dull ache. Something akin to a new mosquito bite, a minor sensation of tiny bits of electric current shooting in different directions throughout your body”. Only a small percentage of people would say it's painful.

In most practitioner’s experience, absolutely minimal pain is described, and this is most likely caused by a psychological factor. Most first time people are more scared psychologically of the physical sensation. There are sensations including tingling and local numbness, occasionally a small amount of swelling, and some dull itchiness. However, all such sensations are short-lived.

Is Acupuncture safe?

Regardless of the pain aspect, another more important concern is that of safety. Acupuncture has a very sound track record. The needles used are single-use, sterile and disposable. Responses to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness, and on occasion minor bruising may occur. Acupuncture may cause swelling, tingling, or numbness, but it is perfectly safe, and rarely painful unless a psychological condition or phobia exists.

Acupuncture may not be safe if you have a bleeding disorder or if you're taking blood thinners. The most common side effects of acupuncture are soreness, bleeding or bruising at the needle sites. It is very rare for a needle to break or an internal organ to be injured. If needles are reused, infectious diseases may be accidentally transmitted. However, these risks are extremely low in the hands of a competent, certified acupuncture practitioner.

Who has Acupuncture?

Many people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or conditions, and some because they simply feel generally unwell. Others choose acupuncture to enhance their feeling of wellbeing. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages, including babies and children. It can also be used alongside conventional medicine. Nowadays more and more people are finding this long established therapy can offer an effective solution to all manner of today's ills.

What happens when I go for treatment?

You will be asked about your current symptoms, what treatment you have received, your medical I history, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. The acupuncturist is also likely to feel your pulses on both wrists, and may ask to look at your tongue. The acupuncture points used are not always close to the part of the body where you experience the problem. For example, although you might suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted in your foot or hand. Treatment is aimed at the root of your condition, as well as your symptoms. This approach can lead to a more permanent resolution of your problems.

How many sessions will need?

Frequency and length of treatment depends on your individual condition. Some change is usually felt after five treatments, although occasionally only one or two treatments are required. Some patients may need treatment over several months or long-term. Your acupuncturist will normally ask to see you once or twice a week at first.

Should my doctor know?

If you have been prescribed medication it makes sense to tell your doctor that you are planning to have acupuncture. You should always tell your acupuncturist about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.

Don't be afraid to tell your doctor you're considering acupuncture. He or she may be able to tell you about the success rate of using acupuncture for your condition or recommend an acupuncture practitioner for you to try.

Choosing an acupuncture practitioner

Acupuncture is a very safe form of treatment, which has few side effects or complications. However, it is important to make sure that the acupuncturist that you choose is fully qualified, and practises the treatment under safe and hygienic conditions.

If you're considering acupuncture, do the same things you would do if you were choosing a doctor: Ask people you trust for recommendations. Check the practitioner's training and credentials. Interview the practitioner. Ask what's involved in the treatment, how likely it is to help your condition and how much it will cost. Find out whether the expense is covered by your insurance.

Pros and Cons

As with most medical therapies, acupuncture has both benefits and risks. Consider the benefits:


Gaia Acupuncture Practitioners:

Caroline Hathaway MBAcC -  Further details click here

Ramesh Mistry D.Pod.M., HPCt Further details click here

Embody Guide to Acupuncture


In the past 40 years acupuncture has become a well-known, reasonably available treatment in most developed and developing countries. It is now widely used and accepted all over the world. In the UK, acupuncture is a popular and well-established complementary therapy, with approximately three million people undergoing this kind of treatment each year. in the UK there are currently over 2800 qualified acupuncturists registered with the British Acupuncture Council.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient but tried and tested system of traditional Chinese (complementary) medicine. The Chinese and other eastern cultures have been using acupuncture to restore, promote and maintain good health for thousands of years. Acupuncture is, believed to date back to around 200BC. The earliest written reference to acupuncture is in the Yellow Emperor's book of medicine, the Nei Ching.

Acupuncture is based on the Chinese belief that the human body is controlled by a life force, or ‘vital substance’, known as Qi or Chi (pronounced 'chee'). Qi flows through the body in channels, known as meridians - When your Qi is disturbed or unbalanced it can make you unwell. Acupuncture aims to restore the balance of Qi, and helps it to run smoothly through your body.

Acupuncture literally means 'needle piercing. It involves the practice of inserting very fine needles at key points (called acupoints or acupuncture points) into the skin, to stimulate specific anatomic points in the body to balance the movement of this energy in the body to restore health. Practitioners of acupuncture may also use heat, pressure, friction, suction, or impulses of electromagnetic energy to stimulate these points.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The traditional Chinese theory behind acupuncture as medical treatment is very different from that of Western medicine. Drawing on classical Taoist philosophy, acupuncturists believe that health results from a harmonious balance between the complementary extremes (yin and yang) and of the life force Qi. They postulate that illness is caused when the body's yin and yang elements become unbalanced. [The word Yin refers to material substance, while the word Yang signifies formless energy]. According to acupuncturists, the body should create a natural balance between both yin and yang. Illness results from an imbalance of the forces. However, if an imbalance does occur, acupuncture can help to re-work the balance.

Traditional acupuncture works to maintain the body's equilibrium by focusing on all aspects of well being; physical, mental, and emotional. Good health is not just the absence of pain/disease. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body's motivating energy moving in a smooth and balanced way through the meridians. The flow of Qi can be disturbed by any number of factors. These include emotional states such as anxiety, anger, or grief, as well as poor nutrition, hereditary factors, infections, and trauma. When the Qi is unbalanced, illness may result.

Historically, acupuncture points were believed to be holes that allowed entry into the meridian channels. These holes provided gateways to influence, redirect, increase, or decrease the body's Qi, thus correcting many of the imbalances. The insertion of needles into different parts of the body is believed to influence the Qi that runs through invisible channels throughout the body. Acupuncturists place their needles into specific acupoints that are thought to form patterns in the body like constellations in the night sky. The body's acupoints are said to run along 12 main meridians (channels) and the energy flow is accessible through more than 350 acupuncture points.

Not everyone who practises acupuncture believes in the theory of Qi. Furthermore, traditional Western conceptions of the body do not directly correspond with the forms of the acupoints and meridians. The Western explanation of acupuncture incorporates modern concepts of neuroscience. For example, some practitioners take a more scientific approach to acupuncture and focus instead on the way it helps the body release its natural painkillers, known as 'endorphins'. They also feel it can help stimulate nerve and muscle tissue. Indeed, Western doctors recognise that the manipulation of the larger nerve fibres can be used to block pain.

About Acupuncture

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