fertility issues and pregnancy ailments.
The heartwarming story of WWII veteran Bernard Martin, whose chronic pain was finally cured by acupuncture after 67 years of suffering, may encourage more people to give it a go. But is it worth it?
Y! Lifestyle spoke to a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner from the Harley Street Acupuncture Clinic, to find out more.
Maureen Cromey MBAcC MRCHM, told us the list of ailments acupuncture improves is endless, but also stressed that you don’t need to have something ‘wrong with you’ to benefit from the ancient medicine.
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Chronic pain, aches and stress
As in Bernard’s case, chronic pain is an area where acupuncture can make a vital difference, sometimes enabling patients to stop taking a string of medications that treat their symptoms. This is often the case in late middle age and for elderly patients, where there can be several things wrong that manifest as one pain point or medical complaint.
“It’s very good for older people because it’s gentle but very effective,” explains Maureen. “It’s rare for older people, or anyone really, to have just one thing wrong with them that they can put their finger on.
“As we get older, in addition to injuries and pain, there’s the weakening of the digestive system and quite often some sorrow and anguish at getting older. Painkillers will numb the end symptom but don’t address many of the combined underlying causes.”
“I treat many people with chronic pain, including migraine, chronic headaches, neck and back pain, and also hormonal problems, depression, panic attacks and just generally being strung out and stressed.”
She continues: “It really boosts the immune system so it’s ideal for keeping you healthy.”
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Does acupuncture actually work?
“It’s not a placebo,” Maureen assures us. “So it doesn’t really matter if you believe it will work or not. It’s a proven medical practice. But like all medicine, it will work better if you have a positive attitude towards it.”
How it works is more mysterious.
“It’s a very old system of medicine, 2,000 years, maybe more,” explains Maureen. “There’s a system of energy that flows through the body, and in traditional theory, this sometimes gets blocked by an energy or organ dysfunction and that’s what creates pain and illness. Acupuncture uses pressure points in the body to release the blockage and encourage the energy to flow normally again.”
“I would recommend it to anyone. Young, old, middle aged, there’s no age discrimination. All those niggles, aches, pains and stresses you get from working long hours and being stressed out can be helped by acupuncture. All these annoying things that we take for granted as just part of life don’t have to be.
They’re all little signs and symptoms of the lack of balance that acupuncture can help restore.”
To find a registered practitioner in your area call the British Acupuncture Council on 020 8735 0400 or visit www.acupuncture.org.uk.