March brings us Acupuncture Awareness Week (7th to 13th March, 2016.)  To help raise awareness of Acupuncture and to make people aware of just how much it can help I have teamed  up with Nicola Rycroft, our acupuncturist who is based at Rowan House.

Hi Nicola, thank you for speaking to me today regarding Acupuncture.

What made you want to go down the route of studying Acupuncture?  Did you have a treatment yourself which made you want to look into it further?

I first had acupuncture about 15 years ago to address conception issues. Out of curiosity I started reading about my treatment and just fell in love with the philosophy behind Chinese Medicine. Then, later on in my third year of studying I got pregnant with my ‘acupuncture’ twins!

How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works on the belief that qi (energy) is flowing throughout the body along a meridian system (a bit similar to nerves or blood vessels). Pain and illness can occur when the qi isn’t flowing correctly – usually because it has become blocked, or isn’t being produced sufficiently. Very fine needles are inserted into Acupuncture Points lying along these meridians to regulate the flow. Other things that can affect the flow of qi are emotions, poor lifestyle choices, and genetic influences.

Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture needle and the ancient Chinese medical bookWhat is the history of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is thousands of years old. It is thought to have developed in China where the first needles were probably made of animal bones. However, the discovery in 1991 of tattooed Ötzi, a 5,300-year-old corpse give us reason to think that the origins of Acupuncture is much older.

Many texts have been written over the years about Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture – there have been a lot of case studies over that long time frame!  Some of these “Classical texts” are still studied today, and I am proud to have studied at the oldest acupuncture college in the UK which prides itself on acknowledgement of the Classics, whilst also using current Acupuncture research to teach.

What happens in one of your treatment sessions?

The first treatment involves me taking a full case history and carrying out body diagnosis, including looking at the tongue, and taking the (twelve) Pulses at the wrist. When I have made my Chinese Medicine diagnosis, I choose the most effective Points. This is where the process becomes artistic, as there are over 360 Points to choose from and it’s important to select the correct ones that will work well together. At my college, we learnt how to use as few as possible with the intension of sending a direct, clear message to the body. If too many needles are used, the body can get confused and doesn’t know how to heal itself. The needles stay in for about 20 minutes and my patients often relax deeply or fall asleep.

Is Acupuncture safe?

During the case history, I become aware of any medication or underlying health issues a patient has which may affect Points selection – for example there are certain Points that I would avoid if a patient had High Blood Pressure, or was pregnant. Any practitioner who has trained on a British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) Accredited course, will have safety at the forefront of their minds. We adhere to strict hygiene and professional guidelines, and attend at least 30hrs of Continued Professional Development a year.

Akupunktur als AlternativmedizinIs there a typical condition that you tend to treat?

I seem to be treating quite a few menopausal women at the moment. People often mistakenly think that acupuncture only treats musculoskeletal conditions but it is wonderful at treating emotional issues and great for balancing the body (especially when it is going through hormonal changes).

How many treatments do you recommend clients to have?

This will depend on what they’ve come to see me for. Acute conditions are generally quicker to resolve and may only need a couple of sessions. Long term, chronic conditions may take longer to get on top of. I usually say to new patients to give it five or six sessions before coming to any conclusions about whether acupuncture ‘has worked” for them. Sometimes the changes are instant but Acupuncture can also affect the body on a very subtle level and it’s only through looking back at the case history that someone can see how much they’ve gained through the treatments. More subtle changes may be improved sleep, the stopping of regular headaches or improved willpower leading to positive lifestyle changes.

Some of my patients now come to see me for a seasonal/preventative treatment. In ancient China, the acupuncturist stopped getting paid when their patient got ill – it was in their interests to keep everyone healthy. I like this preventative approach to healthcare and that is why I enjoy working at Rowan House with its strong emphases on health and wellbeing.


Thank you Nicola, March brings us Acupuncture Awareness Week (7th to 13th March) Nicola will be holding a Clinic at Rowan House on Wednesday 9th March where you can have a free consultation.

If you wish to find out more information please click here or contact Nicola directly on 07467 185761.