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At Denbigh, we provide our clients with a personalized approach to their wellbeing. Our skilled practitioners are dedicated to creating an environment of healing and rejuvenation. Our goal is to help our clients reach a state of balance and harmony, while providing them with the tools and knowledge to take their health into their own hands. We strive to provide the highest quality care, and to ensure that our clients have the best possible experience.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture treatment involves fine needles being inserted through the skin and briefly left in position. Sometimes manual or low voltage electrical stimulation is applied to assist the process. The number of needles varies but may be only two or three.

The practitioner will assess each patient’s case and treatment will be tailored to the individual; so it is impossible to give more than this general idea of what your particular treatment might involve. Acupuncture can be used to treat a range of conditions and practitioners often vary enormously in the kind of conditions they are happy to treat. Broadly speaking, treatment might be once a week to begin with, then at longer intervals as the condition responds. A typical course of treatment lasts 5 to 8 sessions.

Results can never be guaranteed. Some people react very well to acupuncture while other people notice little change. In addition, some patients notice that acupuncture promotes relaxation, and results in a feeling of improved wellbeing. Many find that they feel better after acupuncture treatment, even if, unfortunately, there is no real improvement in their medical condition.

Acupuncture stimulates the nerves in skin and muscle, and can produce a variety of effects. We know that it increases the body's release of natural painkillers - endorphin and serotonin - in the pain pathways of both the spinal cord and the brain. This modifies the way pain signals are received.


How does Acupuncture work?

Western medical acupuncture (dry needling) is the use of acupuncture following a medical diagnosis. It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles.

This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. It's likely that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture.

A course of acupuncture is usually recommended because it can take a few sessions for you to see improvements.

Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or "life force", flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced "chee").

Practitioners who use acupuncture in the traditional way believe that when Qi does not flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.


Uses of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture practitioners – sometimes called acupuncturists – use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions. However, the use of acupuncture is not always based on rigorous scientific evidence.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for the NHS on the use of treatments and care of patients.

Currently, NICE only recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for:

Acupuncture is also often used to treat other conditions and symptoms, including:

  • joint and muscle pain

  • jaw pain

  • cancer symptoms such as pain

  • side effects of cancer treatment such as feeling or being sick from chemotherapy

  • feeling sick or being sick after surgery

However, the evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture compared with other treatments is unclear.


How is Acupuncture performed?

An initial acupuncture session usually lasts 20 minutes to 1 hour and involves an assessment of your general health, medical history and a physical examination, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.

Courses of treatment often involve several separate sessions, but this can vary.

Insertion of needles

The needles are inserted into specific places on the body, which practitioners call acupuncture points.

During the session, you'll usually be asked to sit or lie down. You may also be asked to remove some clothes so the practitioner can access certain parts of your body.

The needles used are very fine and are usually a few centimetres long. They should be single-use, pre-sterilised needles that are disposed of immediately after use.

Acupuncture practitioners choose specific points to place the needles based on your condition. Several points may be used during a typical session, depending on the number of symptoms you have.

The needles may be inserted just under the skin, or deeper so they reach muscle. Once the needles are in place, they may be left in position for a length of time lasting from a few minutes up to around 30 minutes.

You may feel a tingling or a dull ache when the needles are inserted but you should not experience any significant pain. If you do, let your practitioner know straight away.

When it's done by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is generally very safe.

Some people experience mild, short-term side effects such as:

  • pain where the needles puncture the skin

  • bleeding or bruising where the needles puncture the skin

  • drowsiness

  • feeling sick

  • feeling dizzy or faint

Serious side effects such as a punctured lung or infection are very rare.

If you have a bleeding disorder, such as haemophilia, or are taking any medicines such as anticoagulant medicine, talk to your GP or acupuncture practitioner before you have acupuncture. 

Acupuncture is also not usually advised if you have a metal allergy or an infection in the area where needles may be inserted.

It's generally safe to have acupuncture when you're pregnant. However, let your acupuncture practitioner know if you're pregnant because certain acupuncture points cannot be used safely during pregnancy.

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