Giving men the needle

Data from the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has revealed that more than a quarter (27.3%) of people seeking treatment from one of its 3,000 members, are men.

While they recognise the benefits of acupuncture for a range of conditions, from musculo-skeletal and digestive problems, to headaches and emotional and addiction issues, there remains a scepticism amongst the remaining three quarters of the male population.

A survey conducted by the BAcC reports that 66.5% of men state acupuncture is 'not the kind of treatment men should use' whilst 1 in 5 don't believe it will be effective.

Bernard Nolan, is one of 1,000 male acupuncturist members with the BAcC: "Men are generally not that great at looking after themselves and can be more sceptical about treating illness, especially if it involves needles! After 20 years of practice however, I have built an extensive client list, many of whom are men who particularly come to me for assistance with sports injuries and complaints."

Bernard has been treating Jay DeMerit, centre back for Watford FC and the USA national team for over two years. Jay, who has just returned from the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, explains why acupuncture has become part of his regime: "As a footballer I put my body through a lot - vigorous training and a full season of matches certainly takes it toll."

"The most important thing for me is to get onto the field so I will apply the best treatments to ensure I can perform at my best. I started using acupuncture a couple of years ago and have found it has a positive effect for various complaints, from general muscle injuries to more chronic conditions such as scar tissue on my calf which flares up from time to time and impedes my muscles. I have no doubts that acupuncture has played a major role in maintaining my health and in turn, helping my game."

Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of traditional medicine, which has been used in China and other eastern cultures for thousands of years to restore, promote and maintain good health. It aims to treat the root cause of a condition and promote long-term wellness, rather than just alleviating symptoms. Its benefits are now widely acknowledged all over the world and, in the past decade, traditional acupuncture has begun to feature more prominently in mainstream healthcare in the UK.

To find a practitioner in your area call the British Acupuncture Council on 020 8735 0400 or visit