From tackling migraines to back pain, acupuncture is growing ever more popular in the UK as a complementary treatment.
Yet this traditional Chinese medical practice still leaves some people cold – unsurprisingly perhaps, given that it involves sticking needles in parts of your body.
But if you think acupuncture might help you beat a complaint or illness, there’s no need to be scared. You can find out much more about the treatment, its benefits and drawbacks online – though you should consult your GP before giving it a go.
The best sites for acupuncture advice
If you’re completely new to acupuncture, the NHS acupuncture page is a great introduction. Here, you’ll find more details about what the procedure involves, its common uses and evidence to back up its usage. You’ll also find details about acupuncture safety and regulation in the UK, so you’ll know what to look for in an acupuncturist should you choose to book an appointment.
For an extra thorough overview, Bupa’s acupuncture page is comprehensive. This site tells you what happens during a range of acupuncture treatments, from traditional acupuncture to cupping, where heated cups are placed on your skin to stimulate points around the body. You can also find out more about the risks of acupuncture on this page. What’s more, its FAQs tab has detailed information on what qualifications an acupuncturist needs, how much it costs and whether you can give blood after a treatment.
The British Acupuncture Council is another great resource for anyone who wants to know more about the treatment in Britain. There are lots of further details on this site about acupuncture safety, what to expect from your first treatment and even an A-Z of acupuncture terminology. You’ll also be able to find a registered acupuncturist near you by entering your postcode.
Just looking for a brief synopsis of acupuncture’s main elements? Kate Winstanley, an acupuncturist with Harley Street nutritionist clinic The Food Doctor, offers a clear and concise introduction to acupuncture.
And if you’re still not sure whether acupuncture will work for your particular ailment, you’ll find a range of testimonials – and rebuttals – online. In a December 2013 article on the Huffington Post, for instance, writer Sara C Nelson seemed convinced that acupuncture can promote facial rejuvenation. However, some scientists and GPs are still not convinced. This Live Science article on acupuncture attempts to demystify and explain the practice.
Acunpuncture Awareness Week
If you’re keen to give acupuncture a go, watch out for Acupuncture Awareness Week. Supported by the British Acupuncture Council, Acupuncture Awareness Week aims to make people more aware of what the treatment really is and how it might be able to help.
In particular, the event tries to address the fear many people have over whether or not acupuncture is painful. On their website, you’ll also get to view videos from expert acupuncturists, and testimonials from patients and celebrities. So if you’re on the fence about acupuncture, the annual Acupuncture Awareness Week is the perfect time to learn more about this ancient practice.
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