What is classical acupuncture?
Classical acupuncture was first developed in China and has been evolving for over 2000 years. Your acupuncturist at Acupuncture Surrey has been trained in several traditionally based systems of acupuncture including TCM, Five Elements and Stems and Branches, all of which trace their roots back to classical texts such as the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine: huangdi neijing.
The goal of classical acupuncture is to bring your body’s vital energy (‘qi’) into balance. This vital energy flows around your body via meridians or channels. Illness results when there is a deficiency (too little), an excess (too much) or a blockage of this vital energy anywhere in the meridians or organs.
By inserting fine needles in specific spots on the body or ear and using other supportive therapies like moxibustion or cupping, the acupuncturist can move the vital energy around, supplementing areas of deficiency, reducing areas of excess and clearing blockages.
In some cases imbalances in the flow of vital energy can cause noticeable symptoms of illness or discomfort. In others, the effect may be more subtle – for example a change in your digestion, mood changes, restless thoughts or simply not feeling yourself.
In classical acupuncture we don’t just support the main symptoms, we also aim to support the whole person staying true to the theory of classical acupuncture which holds that your physical, emotional and mental aspects are interdependent.
Can acupuncture help me?
Acupuncture can be used to restore, promote or maintain health. It is used as both as a stand-alone therapy or together with other forms of medicine to help address a wide variety of acute and chronic health conditions including:
Musculoskeletal pain generally but also including:
A wide range of women's health issues but also including
Support during pregnancy, including pelvic girdle pain, turning breech babies, inducing labour and generally reducing anxiety
Mental health issues
Sports injuries (e.g. those resulting from running)
Within the UK, the NHS uses acupuncture in many general practices, pain clinics and hospices. Since 2009, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that acupuncture should be made available on the NHS, as a cost-effective short-term therapy for the management of early, persistent non-specific lower back pain. Furthermore, since 2021, NICE now recommend acupuncture as one of the alternatives to prescription drugs to address chronic primary pain.
The British Acupuncture Council have produced a useful summary of the research available in relation to acupuncture, including fact sheets for a wide range of conditions. This can be found here.
You can also access further evidence about the efficacy of acupuncture to address a range of conditions here.
At Acupuncture Surrey, we offer a free 15 minute, no-obligation consultation for new patients in which to explore how acupuncture can help you. Please contact us to arrange your introductory call.
What happens in an appointment?
During the initial appointment at Acupuncture Surrey, your acupuncturist will work through a detailed case history with you, exploring your current complaint but also getting a full picture of your general health. Your acupuncturist will also create a pre-natal chart for you based on your date, time and place of birth - this chart gives us information about your constitutional energy mix.
Your appointment will include a thorough body diagnosis including examination of the area related to your symptoms (if relevant), reading your pulses, feeling key points on your meridians and belly and looking at your tongue.
Your acupuncturist will then develop an acupuncture plan based on your personal symptoms and state of health, selecting a combination of points that are best suited to your situation.
During your appointment very fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body. Sometimes acupuncture needles are inserted for just a very short time, or you may be left to rest for a while before the needles are removed. You may feel a dull ache or tingling sensation as your acupuncturist adjusts the needle. Many people report feeling deeply relaxed during their appointment. You can read more about what you might feel in an acupuncture appointment in this article.
In addition to needling, your acupuncturist may recommend moxibustion or cupping as supportive therapies which will be integrated into the appointment, time permitting.
At the end of the appointment, your acupuncturist might make recommendations to help you better manage your health outside of appointments. This could include dietary and lifestyle suggestions or specific exercises such as tai chi and qigong.
The basic structure of your appointment is the same, irrespective of whether you attend the private Acupuncture Surrey clinics (Acupuncture Redhill/Reigate) or our lower cost community clinics (Acupuncture Merstham). You can find further information about the community clinic here.
How many appointments will I need?
The number of appointments needed will depend on several factors including whether the presenting complaint is an acute (recent) issue or a chronic (long term) condition and how your body responds to the acupuncture therapy. It is common for people to have a course of appointments with either weekly or bi-weekly appointments to start with, reducing in frequency as your body responds. Your Acupuncture Surrey acupuncturist will suggest how often you should come for acupuncture.
What should I do between appointments?
At the end of your appointment your acupuncturist may give you some nutritional or lifestyle advice. In Chinese medicine we look to identify the root of your condition and where this is linked to a dietary or lifestyle issue we will share this with you. In this way, we hope that you can work in concert with us to help address your health issue.
On occasion we might also suggest some exercise or self massage/acupressure. We also sometimes suggest some moxibustion homework - for some fertility patients this can be a great way for both partners to participate in the fertility journey.
At Acupuncture Surrey, your practitioner is a qualified tai chi and qigong teacher, teaching a qigong system called Taijiwuxigong© under the banner of Tai Chi & Qigong Surrey. We may suggest qigong as a supportive practice between appointments, particularly for patients with long term chronic conditions.
Qigong is a part of classical Chinese medicine, essentially giving individuals tools to use to manage their health in their own time. Just like acupuncture, qigong is working to bring your body’s vital energy (‘qi’) into balance. The Taijiwuxigong© system, in particular, works to identify areas of stagnation and unblock these to bring the body and mind back into a peaceful and harmonious state. Combining acupuncture and qigong is a passion of ours at Acupuncture Surrey - read more about how acupuncture and qigong work together to balance your nervous system and how acupuncture and qigong can be used to treat mental health.