Acupuncture | Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM)

Acupuncture is a healing system that involves the insertion of extremely fine needles into specific points on the surface of the body called acupuncture points. These are thought to be located on energy pathways or channels that run along the body called meridians.

Unlike other needles, such as those used for blood tests and injections, the needles used in Acupuncture are very fine and do not have a cutting edge. Some patients feel a little sharpness during needle insertion, while others feel nothing at all.

At the RLHIM trained acupuncturists include doctors and nurses and, in the Facial Pain Clinic, a dentist.

Are there any side effects?

A few patients feel tired after treatment – you are advised not to drive to your first appointment in rare cases, fainting has been known to occur in some patients minor bruising or bleeding occurs after acupuncture in about 3 in 100 treatments.

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCM)

Chinese Acupuncture focuses on improving the overall well-being of the patient, rather than the isolated treatment of specific symptoms. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy – known as Qi – moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of channels beneath the skin.

Qi consists of equal and opposite qualities – yin and yang – and when these become unbalanced, illness may result. By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response and help restore its natural balance.

Western Medical Acupuncture

Western medical acupuncture is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and the principles of evidence based medicine. Its practitioners no longer adhere to concepts such as Yin/Yang and qi. It is principally used by conventional practitioners, most commonly to treat musculoskeletal pain by stimulating the nervous system.

Practitioners of Western medical acupuncture tend to pay less attention to choosing one point over another, though they generally choose classical points as the best places to stimulate the nervous system.

Acupuncture at the RLHIM

Although both systems of acupuncture can be found at the RLHIM, the majority of clinics use Western medical acupuncture, particularly in the group sessions.

Sessions are usual held with groups of 8 patients although some individual treatments may be given during a one-to-one consultation.

The RLHIM holds group acupuncture clinics for:

  • Chronic Knee pain
  • Chronic Musculoskeletal pain
  • Chronic Headaches and Migraine
  • Facial Pain
  • Menopausal Symptoms

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