A couple of weeks back I dropped in for a chat with my local acupuncture expert Caitlin Allen. I wanted to find out the secrets behind acupuncture, and what made it the treatment of choice for so many conditions – including my particular interest; treating aches and pains.
As soon as I stepped into Caitlin’s pristine acupuncture clinic on Rodley Lane I felt a little calmer. After a warm welcome from Caitlin and a quick tour of her clinic we got down to business.
I got the sense that while a musculoskeletal ‘problem’ may get treated, Caitlin’s approach is more about treating the person. Acupuncture supports this by removing the blockages to the energy flow throughout our body.
These blockages can occur due to trauma, a poor diet or an out of balance lifestyle amongst other things. But once cleared the body has its own innate ability to heal and repair. An acupuncture needle placed in specific point simply opens up the blockage, allowing the energy to resume it’s normal flow.
Caitlin pointed to an area between her thumb and index finger. She explained that applying a needle to this specific point relates to our brains perception of pain. So when someone’s suffering from a chronic condition that may be unlikely to go away, acupuncture can modify how our brain perceives the pain. This is good news if you’re looking for relief from a nagging ailment that isn’t going away any time soon.
“even when we’re unable to ‘fix’ a long term condition, acupuncture can help manage how much of the pain we experience day to day”.
Acupuncture isn’t just about the needles. Our fast paced, busy lifestyles put a lot of pressure on our time. Leaving little time to stop and relax (Caitlin explained the busyness as being very ‘yang’).
When our body is constantly in an hurried or stressed state vital healing and repair processes get put on hold. When we take time to relax (like the the kind of relaxation that occurs during a treatment session) we get some much needed down time, and add some ‘yin’ into the mix. This gives our body a chance to focus on healing and recovery.
Caitlin tells me that for treatment of an injury – if it happened recently – we’d expect to see improvements within 2-3 treatments. And as with most treatments, the benefits build gradually, with a course of around 6 sessions usually being recommended.
One lesson Caitlin has learned over the 10 years she has been practising is that you get better results when you don’t rush and pour everything on all at once – something those newer to the profession often fall into the trap of doing.
“That way we know what’s working and what isn’t. And we never end up doing something that’s unnecessary”.
I smile with recognition, as this approach really fits with our approach to exercise and nutrition: to start small and gradually build.
Caitlin mentioned one of the biggest expectations is that the acupuncture needles will hurt. She explains that the needles are thin; literally the thickness of 2 human hairs. So nowhere near thick enough to cause pain.
I can attest to this. During my first acupuncture treatment I’d psyched myself up, was ready and braced… only to find out that the needles were already in 🙂
Aside from treatment Caitlin recommend the following things we could do at home to speed up the healing of an injury:
– Apply hot and cold treatment (expose the injured area to a hot shower followed by a cold flannel)
– Use a heat lamp on the affected area
– Gentle stretches
And as far as prevention goes she suggests practising yoga, tai chi, pilates or gentle core stability exercises.
While acupuncture can help with pain management and other specific conditions, a major benefit of treatment is the relaxation and sense of well-being it provides.
If you’re seeking treatment for specific short term injury expect 2-3 treatments to notice an effect, with more deep seated problems requiring longer.
Know that acupuncture needles are really thin- so despite popular assumptions they don’t cause pain.
And if you’re curious about trying acupuncture for for a specific condition, or improved health and well-being then I can’t recommend Cailtin enough!
For more info on acupuncture check out Caitlin’s website: http://www.caitlinallen.co.uk/
Call Caitlin on 07971 927 675
or check out her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/caitlinallenacupuncture