Acupuncture

Acupuncture in Uckfield, Brighton and Hove, with Charlotte Whitestone BSc (Hons), Lic Ac, MBAcC

What is traditional acupuncture?

Traditional acupuncture is a healthcare system based on principles which go back nearly two thousand years. It has a very positive model of good health and function, and looks at pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance. The overall aim of acupuncture treatment, then, is to restore the body’s equilibrium.

During diagnosis and treatment the focus is on the individual, not their illness, and all signs and symptoms are seen in relation to each other.

chineseacumanThere can be many reasons for the onset of ill-health; emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection or injury, etc. By inserting ultra-fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points along energy channels (meridians) which run all over the body, a traditional acupuncturist seeks to  trigger the body’s natural healing response by affecting the quality of the patient’s qi (literally ‘life-force’).

Traditional acupuncture uses subtle diagnostic techniques such as feeling the pulse and looking at the tongue.

There are also modern types of acupuncture, such as auricular (ear) acupuncture, trigger point acupuncture and “dry-needling” (mostly used by doctors and physiotherapists). Acupuncture continues to evolve! I believe it is entirely positive that this ancient system continues to be built upon and expanded and although I mostly practice ‘traditional’ acupuncture, I am comfortable bringing modern techniques into my practice.

I only use sterile, single-use needles.

What conditions can acupuncture treat?

It is important to understand that Traditional Acupuncture treats the person, and not their disease. However, the British Acupuncture Council has a useful resource of Fact Sheets about many different conditions, and the ways in which Acupuncture can help them, which you can browse HERE. Also, the World Health Organisation lists a wide variety of diseases or disorders for which acupuncture has been tested in controlled clinical trials, see more HERE.

What will my treatment be like?

During your first session, I will take a full case history before your treatment. This will include asking about your main complaint, your diet and lifestyle, past health history, medication, and various body “systems”, such as digestion, sleep, your emotional well-being; and gynaecology for women.

It might seem that some questions appear unrelated to your condition but the information you give helps me to form a more complete picture of your health and lifestyle. I will also gain lots of important diagnostic information from feeling your pulse on both wrists, looking at your tongue, and perhaps palpating or examining painful or injured areas.

Based on all the information you have given me, I will make a diagnosis and put together your treatment plan, which may include lifestyle and dietary advice as well as acupuncture.

Acupuncture needles are very fine. Many of the best points are located on your lower legs and feet, forearms and hands, and head. I will explain to you everything I plan to do and make sure you are happy before I proceed. There is usually some sensation associated with needling, but it is my intention that this is as easy for you to accommodate as possible. Once the needles are in patients tend to feel very relaxed and may even have a doze!

I may also use massage, a burning herb called moxa, or other extra techniques. I will always explain what I plan to do and ask for your consent before we go ahead. You are free to refuse any part of treatment.

I may offer you some lifestyle advice too. Chinese dietary principles can be a very helpful way of making your treatment more effective. I may refer you to another professional if I think you would benefit from their care. Sometimes Nate and I work with patients together, offering a package of coaching and acupuncture, which can be a particularly potent and empowering combination for some conditions.

To make your treatment easier and more comfortable:

o Please wear loose clothing so we can easily access points on the legs and arms.
o Please make sure you have eaten within 4 hours of your treatment, although preferably not a large meal within the last hour.

After treatment patients often feel relaxed and calm. Some patients may feel a little sleepy, especially after the first few treatments. Please take this into account when booking your treatment time, and if you are planning to drive immediately afterwards.

The number of sessions you will need depends on your individual condition. I will normally ask to see you once a week to start off with, or twice a week if your condition is acute, such as a recent injury. You may start to feel benefits after the first or second treatment although long-standing and chronic conditions may need more time to improve. Once your health has stabilised you may need top-up treatments every few weeks. Traditional acupuncture is also very effective when used as preventive healthcare and many people like to have a ‘retuning’ session a few times each year.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments, both conventional and complementary, on offer in the UK.

Acupuncture has very few potential negative side effects when practiced by a fully trained professional, and any that do occur such as dizziness or minor bruising are usually mild and self-correcting.

Two surveys conducted independently of each other and published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 concluded that the risk of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. This is far less than many orthodox medical treatments.

One survey was of traditional acupuncturists and the other of doctors who practise acupuncture. A total of 66,000 treatments were reviewed altogether, with only a handful of minor and transient adverse side effects recorded.

A 2003 survey of 6,000 patients of acupuncture produced almost identical figures.

Acupuncture and conventional medical treatment

Acupuncture is a wonderful complementary therapy, but it is not primary health care. I am not trained to, or permitted to, diagnose serious medical conditions. Please take responsibility for your own health, by telling me about any serious concerns or symptoms you have, and by seeing your GP when necessary.

If you are currently receiving treatment from your doctor it is sensible to mention that you plan to have acupuncture. I will need to know about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.

Please continue to take your prescribed medication while having acupuncture. The acupuncture treatment may enable you to reduce or even stop taking some forms of medication but you should always consult your doctor regarding any change of prescription. DO NOT stop taking medication without your doctor’s guidance.

Training and professional standards

I received a first-class honours degree from the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in 2006. Since then I have undertaken various post-graduate trainings in subjects such as obstetric acupuncture, micro-systems acupuncture, Balance Method, and I undertake ongoing CPD as part of the requirements of my professional organisation.

I am a member of the British Acupuncture Council and am bound by its strict codes of safe practice and professional conduct. I carry full medical malpractice and public liability insurance. More details about the BAcC can be found on their website HERE.

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Other useful links

ACMAC – Association of Community and Multibed Acupuncture Clinics. I am passionate about community acupuncture (‘multibed’ is an interchangeable term), where several people are treated in one large space together, with the aim of lowering treatment costs for all. Not only does this make acupuncture more accessible, but it also creates a wonderful healing acupuncture that is nurturing to patients and acupuncture alike. ACMAC gives information about community acupuncture and a full listing of all the community clinics in the UK. I currently work at Hove Community Acupuncture.