I can't tell you how happy I am to finally hear the doctors saying what us acupuncturists have known for years... Acupuncture relieves headaches and migraines!
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines say that painkillers can actually be the cause of tension headaches and that overuse of painkillers creates a vicious cycle. They are therefore recommending that patients choose acupuncture to help wean themselves off the painkillers to break the cycle and become headache free.
This is great news for the acupuncture community but also for patients as they are now getting helpful advice from their GPs to take a more holistic approach to their health instead of popping pills. Win win for everyone involved!
Read the story for yourselves by clicking this link:
Endometriosis UK garden party this Sunday
After gaining interest from my entry about heavy periods a couple of weeks of ago, I have been invited to attend a charity event this Sunday 23rd September at Lower Treculliacks House, Constantine, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 5QW from 12 - 4:30pm.
There'll be all sorts of entertainment including a Samba parade, live music, and a raffle in which you might be the lucky winner of a free acupuncture treatment with me!
Come and find me at the event to grab an information pack on how acupuncture can be effective in helping to relieve the painful effects of endometriosis. It will also be a good opportunity to ask me whether acupuncture might be able to help you, whether you have endometriosis or are suffering with another ailment, I'll be there to talk through any health issues you may have.
Donations of £3 will be gratefully received at the door.
Don't forget your wellies if it's raining and I look forward to seeing you there!
For further information please contact Sara on 07814 885 141
After my first blog, I received a comment asking what the requirements are to become an acupuncturist. I thought the response might be of interest to everyone in that actually no formal training is required whatsoever since acupuncture is an unregulated medicine. This means that anybody seeking out an acupuncturist might find themselves having needles administered by somebody with no formal training at all and this is completely legal under the current laws. This is exactly why the British Acupuncture Council (http://www.acupuncture.org.uk) has been set up, so that trained acupuncturists have a presence whereby they can push for change and encourage the powers that be to help regulate the industry.
Acupuncturists who have been accepted as members of the BAcC have been deemed responsible and trained to a good standard to administer acupuncture.
I trained at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine for 4 years to achieve a BSc degree level qualification accredited by Kingston University. It was a very tough course to complete with only a dozen colleagues qualifying at the end of it. The course was run over weekends and included a mixture of coursework and exams as part of the assessments. About half of the course was taken up learning Western Medical approaches to disease. This is important as an acupuncturist needs to be able to distinguish the seriousness of the patient's condition and whether that patient should be referred to their GP for further tests. It also gives us a greater understanding of what types of tests and procedures the patient has had to encounter as part of their condition.
The final year was split between lessons and practicing in the College clinic. A nerve-racking time where we treated the public under direct supervision from our senior lecturers. This was fantastic as we were able to glean years of experience from our supervisors and put our 3 years of study to practice.
However, I think what ought to be stressed, and I'm sure my fellow graduates would agree, that embarking on this particular course at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine is no mean feat. It involved a huge amount of study, cramming for exams and furiously writing up coursework into the night. Friends and loved ones endlessly being told we don't have time to see them and even when we do, spending that time covering them in dots as we practised locating the 365 acupuncture points we needed to know to the millimetre to pass our exams.
Alongside coursework and exam pressures, I had to hold down a full-time job whilst maintaining the full-time degree in order to fund the £17,500 course fees. Having already obtained a Journalism degree, government funding was not an option for me, although I believe there are some grant schemes that can help with that side of things.
But enough of the doom and gloom... Becoming an acupuncturist was the best thing I ever did! Making people feel better is the best job in the world, I feel so honoured and privileged that I was able to study with some of the best acupuncturists in the country and to have learnt a form of medicine that has been practised for thousands of years and to carry on the long tradition of curing people with acupuncture.
So all I will say is that if you are considering a career in acupuncture, look long and hard at your work, social, financial and childcare commitments as these will definitely suffer for that 4 year period. Then look at your life now and weigh up how badly you want to change it. And finally take the leap, knuckle down, become a recluse, and after 4 years you'll be an acupuncturist. You'll never have much money, but you'll have the best job in world!
It seems everybody's got "a little bit of sciatica"
I hear the same comment in so many consultations. I get to the question "any other aches & pains" and the answer's always the same. So they've all got a little bit of a nerve, getting impinged or trapped but only a little bit, and causing a little bit of intermittent pain down the leg. I'm sorry if I sound a little bit sarcastic but in most cases it's rarely sciatica that's the problem. I'm sure a lot of my colleagues would agree that it does seem to be one of the most misdiagnosed problems that we come across.
In Chinese Medicine, this type of pain running down the leg is most commonly born out of stress. Stress affects us in so many ways. It can be responsible for headaches, sore neck & shoulders, digestive problems, bloating, insomnia, and not forgetting that "little bit of sciatica".
A large number of my patients wanting treatment for their leg pain usually tell me that during treatment other aspects of their health has improved. This is because an acupuncturist will tackle the root of the problem and relieve it.
Just call us the stress busters!
I'm seeing a couple of patients at the moment, both with a similar story. They had very heavy periods for many years and now, at post-menopause, they're experiencing very chronic and debilitating achilles tendonitis. They're also experiencing one of the most misdiagnosed problems of sciatica which can be very easily treated with acupuncture. Alongside some neck and shoulder pains. Their tendons are clearly struggling and this pattern is largely due to what acupuncturists would call Blood Deficiency. This doesn't mean they're anaemic in a Western sense but that their blood is lacking the nutrients required to nourish the tendons.
This highlights to me just how important this forum is. Had they known about acupuncture earlier on in their lives, their heavy periods could have been resolved very easily and they wouldn't be left with these residual problems. They both tell me that 3 weeks of their cycle were a complete write-off. They either felt tired or pre-menstrual. I'm continually amazed at how people live with these problems when a few acupuncture treatments so easily sorts out the issue and helps to ensure they don't get further problems along the line.
In terms of their treatment, it makes my life much more difficult when I see such chronic cases as these. It requires considerable treatment to get to the root cause. If only they'd had acupuncture sooner!
It's taken a month of talking about it, an intense 3 hours setting it up and I'm now ready to embrace social media. It's not that I was feeling lonely and wanted to make friends or that I felt my life was seriously lacking news of what Cheryl Cole had for dinner, it's that I have felt for some time that nobody has the foggiest clue what acupuncture does!
It's fascinating the wealth of responses I get when I introduce myself as an acupuncturist... "So do you just work on feet?" "Is that where you stick needles into people?!" "My friend had acupuncture. Her physio did it". Or you know they're really out of their depth when they just say "oh that's interesting". People just really don't know what it's all about.
What's really interesting to me is that when you talk about it, people are always amazed at what acupuncture can treat. It's not just back and knee pain, and once explained to people the wealth of health conditions that I treat and how beneficial acupuncture can be, the general response is that they wished they'd known about it sooner.
So, I'm using this social media phenomenon as a vessel to carry the message that acupuncture can treat anything! It's been good enough to treat the Chinese for thousands of years and I'm sure their only complaints weren't just niggly backs and dodgy knees!
My aim is to give you little snippets of what I've been up to during the week, the sort of health complaints I've been treating, and if you're lucky I may even thrown in something inspirational to keep your interest high. And if all that fails, I will go to the lengths of retweeting Cheryl Cole's dinner so you can be assured there'll be something for everyone!
I hope you'll also be able to use this space as a forum for debate and if you have any general questions or are concerned about your health, please do pose them here or you can always pick up the phone if you'd prefer. I'm always happy to give any advice I can, provided I have the relevant information.
So good luck to you and me (I'm still getting my head around it) and I look forward to blogging at you.
Verity Allen - BSc, BA, MBAcC, Lic Ac