The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) was pleased to hear the discussion around the role of acupuncture on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2 this morning.
Of particular interest is how there is growing recognition of the use of acupuncture in the primary care or general practice context.
GPs are experiencing an unprecedented increase in demand for their services across the UK, with an increase in face-to-face contact with patients of 13% and an increase in telephone contacts of 63%.1
Such increases are not entirely unexpected, given the changes in age demographics and corresponding rise in numbers of patients with long-term conditions and co-morbidities. Adding to the burden of sheer numbers is the recognition that such conditions often cannot be fully resolved by the usual western medical management options, leading to an increase in anxiety for many patients; a rise in numbers of the so-called ‘worried well’.
*In the UK 1 in 7 people at any one time experience a migraine attack.
A migraine is a complex neurological condition, which can affect the whole body and can result in many symptoms, sometimes without a headache at all. Migraines can be easily overlooked or mistaken for other conditions and can affect people in many different ways.A migraine can involve recurrent attacks that can last up to three days and sufferers may also experience double vision, nausea and vomiting. Migraines are often thought to be caused by emotional strain, stress, hormonal imbalances, and lack of food and/or sleep or by a reaction to some foods or medications. Research has shown that traditional acupuncture can be very beneficial in the treatment of migraines as it tends to lessen the frequency and severity of attacks. NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommends acupuncture for headaches and migraines. Migraines can manifest in very different ways and a fully qualified acupuncture practitioner will want to know, among other things exactly where the pain is located, what the nature of the pain is and whether the patient has any accompanying symptoms. An individual diagnosis and treatment plan is then tailored to the patient based on this information and on their general health history.
As a leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness, lower back pain is estimated to cost the UK economy over £12 billion per year .
In the UK the condition is responsible for 37% of all chronic pain in men and 44% in women but in a bid to cope with the condition, a study by the British Acupuncture Council reveals that 74% of people use painkillers as a quick fix to relieve discomfort.
‘Painkillers often mask the problem and don’t address many of the underlying causes of lower back pain, says Alison Savory, a qualified member of the British Acupuncture Council. ‘With traditional acupuncture we look at the root of the condition as well as the symptoms in order to try and promote longer term health and wellbeing. Many of my patients find the therapy extremely beneficial.’
With 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year, traditional acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. Based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years, acupuncture involves gently placing extremely fine, sterile needles at specific points on the body to trigger a healing response.
Anxiety UK and the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) have launched a joint pilot project which will see members of Anxiety UK being able to access traditional acupuncture through this new partnership.
Throughout the pilot project, data will be collected to determine the effectiveness of traditional acupuncture for treating those living with anxiety and anxiety based depression. This will enable both parties to continue to build a body of evidence to measure the success rate of this type of treatment.
Of those Anxiety UK members who have received traditional acupuncture from BAcC members, 74% reported anxiety was the primary reason for seeking treatment while 62% said it was a secondary reason.
We’re famously a nation that doesn’t like to make a fuss but new statistics from the British Acupuncture Council reveal that when it comes to pain nearly half of Brits (44%) just grin and bear it, which could impact long term health and wellbeing.
According to the report released today to mark Acupuncture Awareness Week (7th-13th March 2016), almost three in ten Brits (29%) exercise more now than they did ten years ago but more than half (52%) say they’ve been injured during sport in the past and one in three (30%) claim to have never recovered from their injuries.
To overcome a sporting injury, almost three in five people (56%) say they take oral painkillers, and nearly a third (32%) turn to ice and heat packs, compared to just 11% who opt for traditional acupuncture.
Andrew Jackson, a qualified member of the British Acupuncture Council comments: ‘Many people put up with pain when they don’t need to. Often discomfort from musculoskeletal problems can be alleviated with the correct diagnosis and treatment. Traditional acupuncture is an evidence based therapy that has been shown to help reduce pain and swelling, increase blood flow to promote recovery and help restore movement at the site of injury.’
The report of 2,000 UK adults revealed nearly three quarters of people (73%) have never tried traditional acupuncture with three in ten Brits (30%) admitting they’re unaware of how the therapy could help them.
Andrew continues: ‘In my experience, a lot of patients either ignore their injury or opt for painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs without ever being physically examined. Painkillers often mask the problem and don’t always address any potential underlying issues. Traditional acupuncture can help to identify the root cause of a problem, improving a patient’s understanding and management of symptoms for a more positive long-term outcome.’
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