What are the health benefits of acupuncture?

Today marks the start of National Acupuncture Week, an annual event launched by The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC), the leading self-regulatory body for the practise within the UK. The event aims to educate the population about the benefits of acupuncture, with this year’s event focusing specifically on how the treatment can improve sleep, and our ability to relax.

Acupuncture Therapy

Image source: modern-acupunture.com

Those practising Chinese medicine have long believed acupuncture – the process of inserting thin, solid needles into different acupuncture points located across the body, and then gently manipulating them – can alleviate a wide range of symptoms. The points of the body targeted with needles is dependent on the patient’s physical or mental health complaint/s, and in which qi (‘energy’) meridian (‘path’) said complaints are located.

You can read more about acupuncture theory here.

What are the health benefits of acupuncture?

There is much debate between scientific researchers and advocates of Chinese medicine, as to whether or not acupuncture is an effective treatment. While there are many research papers debunking the supposed health benefits of the practise (often citing a ‘placebo effect’ for perceived alleviation of problems), there are more than a handful meriting acupuncture an effective solution for:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Back pain
  • Issues resulting from suffering a stroke
  • Cerebral palsy
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor eyesight
  • Kidney Stones
  • Morning sickness
  • Impotence
  • Insomnia
  • Stress

…and many more problems besides.

Since the final two in this list are the focus of this year’s event, let’s take a closer look at acupuncture for improved sleep and relaxation.

Acupuncture for improved sleep and relaxation

Many people find undergoing acupuncture treatments relaxing. You might find this a bewildering concept if you have never experienced the practise for yourself – how can having needles stuck into your skin be relaxing?

Very few people actually complain of discomfort when undergoing acupuncture. Depending on the points in which needles are inserted, nothing to very mild discomfort will be felt. Needles causing a brief moment of pain will see the brain release endorphins and a chemical called Serotonin, which contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness in the body and mind. This could help to explain why patients often feel better immediately after a session.

The best acupuncture specialists will ensure you are in a comfortable position before the treatment begins, and may even play some gentle music to ensure you are completely at ease.

There are numerous points on the body which may be targeted with needles for those with complaints of high stress levels, and/or difficulty sleeping. Here are just three examples:

Neiguan

Image source: itmonline.org

Neiguan: Located just above the inner crease of both wrists, Neiguan is most often targeted for the alleviation of complaints in the chest area. However, it is also a useful target for soothing the ailments of stress, insomnia, depression and irritability. Targeting Neiguan is said to calm to body’s ‘Shen’ (Chinese for ‘spirit’).

Ying Tang

Image source: acupuncture.com

Yintang: Located on the forehead, at the midpoint between the eyebrows, Yingtang (also known as the ‘Third Eye Point’) is targeted to relive headaches and insomnia, among other complaints. Many psychologists who do not practise acupuncture recommend gently tapping this area during times of pressure, to improve one’s chance of remaining calm.

‘The Sea of Tranquillity’: This acupuncture point is located at the centre of the breastbone, a small distance up from the base of the bone. This area is targeted to lessen feelings of nervousness, anxiety, frustration, irritability and depression, many of which can hinder a person’s ability to sleep. Targeting this area often allows patients to sleep with greater ease.

At which SpaSeekers spas could you undergo an acupuncture treatment?

There are many spa and health farms in our catalogue offering acupuncture treatments, including:

For more advice regarding the resorts best suited to your acupuncture needs, please call our friendly team on 024 7671 6192.

About the author

For 25 years, Spa Seekers have been helping people throughout the UK to relax, refresh and revive at the very best spas.

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