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How to give pandemic pain the needle

Getting your 'chee' balanced may not be the first thing jostling for attention on your to-do list this month. But amid the stress of homeschooling and the anxiety of another lockdown, it might be exactly what you need. We chat all things acupuncture with local therapist Karen Wade.

Acupuncture – the practice of balancing and restoring the body’s energy, or ‘Qi’ – has been used for more than 2,500 years is Chinese medicine. Using ultra fine needles the idea is it can restore health, reduce pain and encourage natural healing.

Does it work? Well, centuries of happy patients all over the world swear by it, and I had it a couple of years ago and have never felt so floaty and relaxed in my life!

Want to make your own mind up? … We caught up with Karen Wade from Aesthetics & Acupuncture in Evesham to grill her on the ins and outs (sorry) of acupuncture.

(Plus, scroll down to WIN! your own acupuncture session and 24k Swarovski Ear Seeds) …

Hello Karen, how did you get into acupuncture?
I became an acupuncturist back in 2005, at the time I was working as a practice nurse in a busy surgery in Worcester, I loved the idea of exploring more gentle treatments with less side effects, especially for people I’d seen suffering with pain stress and anxiety.

Karen getting to the finer points

So what’s acupuncture really all about?

Acupuncture has been around for around 2,500 years, developed in the East, mostly in China, it was found that stimulating an acupuncture point on the body mostly with a very fine acupuncture needle, produces a therapeutic effect elsewhere.

OK, be honest, is it going to hurt!?

There should be very little, if any, pain. Occasionally there’s a slight pinch but nothing else. I happily do it to myself for all kinds of problems! For people with needle phobias I talk to them while conducting treatments and get them to lie on their stomach, so they are unable to see the needles and they can just lie back and relax.

Right, we’re in, what happens when we get there?

I allow an hour for each appointment, sometimes longer especially for cosmetic acupuncture. We take a full medical history, discuss the patients needs and problems, if it is a muscular problem, I usually do a small Tui Na massage to the area, (Tui Na is a Chinese style massage), I also use a long and short wave ultrasound to encourage blood supply to the area and promote healing and then administer the needles.

Why Eastern medicine over Western medicine?

Chinese medicine was developed centuries ago, in Chinese philosophy the body is a whole, one part can be understood only in relation to the whole, and one part cannot function without balance and harmony, it’s the ying and the yang!

Western medicine is based on evidence and science, in the west you can treat a disease in one part of the body without focus on the rest of the body and healing, there is not the necessity to think about balance and harmony. I can stimulate a point on a body with an acupuncture needle or pressure and can help with pain or illness in another part of the body, without the need for drugs in many cases.

What conditions does acupuncture help with?

Acupuncture will help with most ailments, especially with all types of pain, headaches, migraines, a very common problem especially with all the stress in the world at the moment.  MSK (musculoskeletal) issues, especially back, shoulder, neck knee pain, menopausal symptoms, infertility, stress anxiety and much more.

Tell us more about how it helps fertility and menopausal symptoms?

With infertility it is all about identifying the underlying cause of the problem and the treatment helps restore harmony and health, there are times however when I will also treat while the patient is undergoing treatments for infertility such as IVF , and acupuncture is there to support the treatment the patient is already receiving.

With the menopause again acupuncture is about harmony and health, the treatment would be based around the symptoms she is experiencing, treating to rebalance and supporting any medication she may already be taking.

Bust the myths and misconceptions you hear?

It’s always about needles and that they are going to hurt or make people faint! I also hear ‘its hocus-pocus and won’t work!’ but thousands of years of practice can’t be argued with.

5 ways acupuncture can help you in lockdown …

  • Stress and anxiety levels are up exponentially at the moment, I see it in my work as a Nurse Practitioner as well as in my private acupuncture practice. Acupuncture helps to relax the mind, body and spirit.
  • It stimulates your body’s natural feel-good hormones and reduces stress hormones like cortisol, there have been some studies showing acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety, with fewer side effects than traditional medications.
  • Auricular acupuncture (ear acupuncture) especially has been shown to be of specific benefit in helping to combat stress and anxiety, with the ear seeds that I use in practice, and patients also have the opportunity to take home kits specific for the condition they are suffering with, and treat themselves at home during lockdown.
  • In the east many people will have acupuncture on a regular 2-6 monthly basis as a tonic, to maintain their health. It is also the first point of treatment for many people when they feel unwell.
  • Acupuncture treats cough, cold, asthma, symptoms very well, as well as muscle aches and pains and fatigue, and there are studies underway investigating the benefits of acupuncture for asthma and anyone suffering long term Covid symptoms.

************* W I N **************

Win yourself an acupuncture session (cosmetic or medical) and a pack of 24K gold Swarovski crystal therapeutic Ear Seeds HOT from LA – a bundle worth £160! Click here to enter, answer the easy peasy question and that’s it! Good luck.

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The Aesthetics & Acupuncture Clinic is located in Evesham in Worcestershire. Contact karen@aestheticsandacupuncture.co.uk.

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