Acupuncture meridians are
The highways into your body

Balance for the whole body

Acupuncture involves more than just needles.

It’s a therapy that can change your relationship with your body, providing relief from many long-term health conditions. While there is a traditional belief system underpinning it, the benefits of acupuncture are also backed by science.

Acupuncture originated in China, and has a long history as a traditional form of medicine – it continues to be practised as part of mainstream medicine over there. Acupuncture involves the strategic placement of thin needles at various sites around your body. Acupuncture for chronic pain can be used regularly alongside other remedies to help to relieve symptoms and stress in patients. When integrated with western medicine, acupuncture can temporarily aid treatment for pain.

What Conditions Can Be Treated With Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a useful therapy for a wide range of conditions and diseases, easing symptoms as diverse as pain, nausea, and congestion associated with allergies. Acupuncture may help you with short-term relief if you have one of the following conditions:

  • Migraine
  • Postoperative pain
  • Dental pain
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Tension headaches
  • Neck and lower back pain
  • Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain

Acupuncture treatment is also a relaxing experience – a chance to unwind and let your thoughts drift. It can leave you feeling more positive and often has a revitalising effect.

Acupuncture is not meant to be relied upon alone – it is a therapy that slots alongside other approaches and techniques. It’s important to keep everything in balance – ensuring your nutritional and lifestyle needs are being met, while regularly testing to check for improvement to your health. Acupuncture is a part of the toolbox you use to become more in tune with your body.

How Does Acupuncture Relieve Pain?

The belief system behind Chinese acupuncture is founded on the concept of Qi.

Qi is the energy that flows through the 71 different meridians of your body. These meridians are like rivers – the energy should course through them. But when there is a blockage, the energy becomes stagnant, and this can cause illness and pain. Acupuncture is the process of clearing these blockages by putting pressure on specific acupuncture points.

Western scientific studies show that acupuncture does temporarily relieve pain – but acknowledge a different mechanism behind the therapy. When an acupuncture needle is placed at one of your pressure points, it provides a small amount of stimulus that prompts your body into triggering your immune system, improving circulation, and changing how pain is interpreted and perceived in the brain.

The acupuncture needle stimulates your nervous system, which triggers the release of chemicals in your muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals activate hormones that promote healing and more balanced regulation of your body – which can help you to manage and bear your pain more easily.

What Happens at an Acupuncture Session?

Your acupuncturist takes the first session to get to know you and the nature of your complaint. You may be asked questions not only about your current health but also your medical history, your sleeping patterns, gut health, reproductive history, diet, and exercise. They need a comprehensive picture before compiling your treatment plan. Your British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) acupuncturist has completed the equivalent of a degree in traditional acupuncture – including detailed sections on anatomy, physiotherapy, and disease. They can also liaise with your GP if they believe you need further treatment and advice.

As the energy meridians flow through your body, your acupuncturist may need to access areas that seem unrelated to your original complaint. This is normal. Often it’s useful to wear loose clothing to your appointments, as many of your pressure points are found on your arms and legs. You may need to either sit or lie down during the session.

In acupuncture, fine single-use sterilised needles are used to stimulate your pressure points. These are much finer than the needles used in routine blood tests or injections, and often patients can’t feel them. Acupuncture does not feel like Botox, or any other treatment featuring multiple injection sites. As a result, even patients with needle-phobia may be able to undergo acupuncture – but let your acupuncturist know if you have concerns beforehand. You may occasionally feel momentary pain or a brief throbbing, which is often described as a release of Qi.

The needles are kept in place for 15-50 minutes depending on the nature of your affliction – an opportunity to relax and unwind. You may fall asleep.

Your acupuncturist can talk you through aftercare, but it’s important to understand you may feel drowsy after your treatment, so it’s best not to drive home, and to take it easy for the rest of the day – even if the treatment has energised you.

Acupuncture is a safe treatment, using sterilised single-use needles, and all equipment and treatment follows the BAcC Code of Safe Practice. Side effects such as bruising or dizziness are generally mild, and go away quickly. If you have any concerns, let your acupuncturist know – they want you to feel at ease.

Acupuncture in Edinburgh With Charmaine Shepherd

Charmaine is a British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) member who studied acupuncture for three years in Asia. She has 15 years experience in the practice of acupuncture, with a solid scientific background in biomedical sciences. She combines her scientific outlook with the care and passion of a professional acupuncturist, using her skills as part of her [functional medicine] toolbox to help a wide range of patients with long-standing health issues. Charmaine has experience in coaching patients with hormone and gut imbalances. Her willingness to help, kind bedside manner, and her attention-to-detail put her patients at ease.

If you’re looking for acupuncture in Edinburgh, to ease the symptoms of chronic disease please get in touch to book an appointment with Charmaine. Call (0131) 272 2744 or fill out our Contact Form – we’d love to hear from you.

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Let's work together to see how I can help. I welcome clients from every race, creed, colour, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression. I provide a safe and empathic space for anyone who is committed to working with me to improve their health.

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