A look at acupuncture

This month we focus on the practice of acupuncture, a form of therapy now recognised by many of the leading private medical insurers. Moreover it is now often covered in the therapies section of their policies.

SMP Healthcare’s Lianne Muller has spoken to Edward Waller BSc. Lic Ac. MAAcC in depth about this traditional method of healing.

Can you explain to me exactly what acupuncture is?

Acupuncture is a system of improving health by inserting fine needles into specific points on the body to improve the general health of an individual, or to resolve a specific complaint.

How does acupuncture work?

Traditional Chinese acupuncture uses the concept of energy flow in channels and to the body’s internal organs to optimise the functioning of the body. It looks to release blockages of energy (chi or qi) and to balance Yin (nourishment) with Yang (functioning and movement).

In Western medical terms the acupuncture points work on the autonomous nervous system (the body’s control system – ie breathing, heart rate, digestion, etc); through the brain stem it harmonises the endocrine system (hormones and glandular secretions); and points can be added from the somatic nervous system to aid the release of tight or frozen muscles and joints. Endorphin release giving pain control is a great added benefit.

How long did it take to complete your training?

I completed an honours degree in acupuncture following a full time three year course. Like all good practitioners I follow a continuing professional development plan, and every new patient can give me the opportunity of further learning.

Where have you worked since becoming a qualified Acupuncturist?

Since qualifying I have had the wonderful experience of working alongside highly reputable physiotherapists and other health professionals in private clinics whilst also working at Broomfield hospital as part of a multi-disciplinary team treating all aspects of chronic pain.

Is there a governing body for Acupuncture in the UK?

There is more than one governing body / There are more than one governing bodies for acupuncture in the UK. Registration is voluntary. I have chosen to register with the British Acupuncture Council, the UK’s leading body, as it ensures I surpass all training, ethical and hygiene requirements, as well as meaning that I have a wealth of resources to call upon.

Does Acupuncture hurt and seriously, how big are the needles?

Needle length varies depending upon the site of insertion, but more importantly is the gauge (width) of the needle shaft. Most people who have not experienced acupuncture have only encountered hypodermic needles, these require a hollow tube for injecting, or removing blood, and often blood vessels need to be needled. Acupuncture needles have no need of a tube so are much finer, and as we avoid blood vessels there is no major discomfort. Many people report a swirling or warm feeling, some people report a very mild ache and some people say they have minimal sensation.

Can it be used for physical and mental illness?

Acupuncture treats people and not labels. Many people come to acupuncture for specific physical symptoms and acupuncture can often resolve or manage these symptoms. It is a holistic treatment so it also great at treating people’s mental and emotional well-being. Clients coming for stress or anxiety treatments usually report a major improvement after only one treatment, and by calming the nervous system it becomes easier to then implement a stress or anxiety management plan for those who wish to take control of their on-going health.

Are there lower or upper age limits to your clients?

There are no age limits to those who can benefit from acupuncture. I tend not to treat very young children but can refer to an excellent practitioner who excels in paediatric acupuncture.

What happens on the first visit?

The first visit consists of a discussion with the client to make a diagnosis on which to formulate a treatment plan, and provide an initial treatment. The client will be asked about their medical history, presenting signs and symptoms that reflect the body’s health, and current and past environmental and lifestyle factors that may have an implication in the development of poor health or the problem being addressed.

How long does a typical acupuncture treatment last?

The initial treatment usually takes just under an hour and a half including a detailed consultation. Follow-up treatments are not rushed to allow for the discussion of progress, to formulate changes to treatment plans and to provide further beneficial advice and information to clients. These typically take 45 minutes to an hour.

For more information on Acupuncture, please see Edwards contact details below:



Contact number 07758 832719