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Acupuncture Awareness Week 2018

Acupuncture Awareness Week takes place from 11th – 17th March 2018. The aim of the week is to highlight the benefits of acupuncture, which can extend to a wide variety of conditions, including emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression and digestive complaints including nausea, vomiting and irritable bowel syndrome.

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which has been used for thousands of years and can be used for therapeutic or preventative purposes. The practice of acupuncture involves very fine needles which are inserted into acupuncture points, which lie at specific predetermined anatomical locations. The fine needles used during acupuncture stimulate the body’s energy (Qi) to start the healing process and help the body restore its natural balance.

Eva Heffernan of The Acupuncture Council of Ireland says Acupuncture Awareness Week is a good opportunity to inform people of the many benefits of acupuncture: “Acupuncture is used to treat a range of conditions and the WHO supports its use in treatment for conditions such as cancer, arthritis, fertility, pain, depression, stress and much more. Treatment with acupuncture can alleviate symptoms associated with mental health, depression and anxiety by treating the root cause of the problem and helping to rebalance the body’s internal environment. Treatments are tailored, by a registered acupuncturist, to each individual taking into consideration all of their physical and emotional symptoms as well as diet and lifestyle factors. We’re finding that acupuncture is becoming a common topic of discussion amongst doctors and GP’s, particularly in a peer to peer review setting, including doctor referrals”.

While people are often wary of needles, Eva says acupuncture is nothing to be afraid of: “Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and involves inserting extremely thin needles into the skin at various points on the body. People often think that it will be painful but you don’t feel any pain or even notice the needles during treatment. Acupuncture can relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, but it’s important to only use a registered acupuncturist, as this guarantees that they have a minimum of three years’ training.”

Eva says that our emotions can impact on our overall health: “Emotions relate to each organ, for example, fear to the kidneys; worry to the spleen; anger to the liver; joy to the heart and grief to the lungs. If any of these emotions are extreme in our body, the associated organ and its function and energetics, in time, will be affected. For example: constant worry and overthinking and excessive mental work can affect our digestive system which impacts on our energy, production of qi, blood and fluids (in Chinese medicine terms), leading to a variety of physical issues such as diarrhoea, weight gain, body weakness, tiredness, as well as reducing our mental capacity for thinking, memorising, concentration and emotional stability.”

An initial consultation lasts from an hour to 90 minutes. “The first consultation, including acupuncture treatment, will usually take up to an hour or 90 minutes depending on your condition. The practitioner will take a detailed case history (including your medical case history & GP contact details) and may ask you questions about your family history, diet, your emotional status and social habits. The practitioner does not see you as somebody with a particular named condition, but rather as a person who has a particular imbalance which requires a holistic approach. Acupuncture treats the whole person and not just their presenting condition in isolation. Having taken a detailed case history, the practitioner may look at your tongue and spend time taking your pulses. Having arrived at a diagnosis and treatment protocol, the practitioner will outline this to you, and together, you take it from there,” Eva Heffernan.

Celebrity fans of this ancient Chinese practice include Jennifer Aniston, Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle Macpherson and Madonna, who have all used acupuncture for their wellbeing, treating everything from stress to weight loss, healthy skin and infertility.

The Acupuncture Council of Ireland has 500 members nationwide and is responsible for the regulation and maintenance of a Register of Acupuncturists. Members of the ACI are approved by Aviva, VHI, Laya Healthcare and HSA for Out-Patient insurance purposes. To find a registered acupuncturist in your area and to find out more about acupuncture and Acupuncture Awareness Week, visit

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