Very simply, because some conditions and some patients seem to respond readily acupuncture.
What is it?
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin solid needles* through the skin for therapeutic effect. It developed in China as a treatment over a period of thousands of years, and is now used extensively also in the West.
(* Solid needles, as opposed to the hollow needles which are used to inject substances into the body).
What kind of acupuncture?
There are various styles of acupuncture. There is a standard, taught in most acupuncture schools, which is based on several important traditional Chinese texts. Then there are regional variations, for example in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The reality in rural China is for each local acupuncturist to use the particular method and techniques that have been passed down in the family, more or less based on the wider traditional theory. In the West, some practitioners do not use traditional methods of acupuncture at all, but other methods that have been developed from our scientific understanding of anatomy and physiology.
I studied traditional Chinese acupuncture, in which I qualified in 1990. I was mentored and deeply influenced by my father-in-law, a well-respected and highly experienced acupuncturist in the Venice area. Through his formative contact with Korean practitioners in South America, and his own intelligence and experience, he had developed his own interpretation of the traditional methods. A later influence were the radical ideas developed by the renowned British acupuncturist Dr. Felix Mann in his later life, as expounded in his controversial book, “Reinventing Acupuncture”. Finally, I have a scientific background and a rational mind, and these cannot but inform my style of practice. I have evolved my own way of working, derived from these various influences plus my own experience and thoughts.
In short, I do not practice the traditional acupuncture described by the standard texts. I practice in my own unique way, which I have found to be effective over the years.
What can be treated?
Personally, I apply three general conditions to selecting cases to be treated with acupuncture:
- The disorder and/or symptoms are largely functional. That means that serious disease is not responsible for the symptoms.
- I prefer there to be some reasonably strong scientific evidence that acupuncture is effective in similar cases.
- There is no better way of treating the problem that is acceptable to the client.
Except the last, these are not absolute rules, but preferable conditions. Sometimes (though not usually) circumstances or intuition can override them.
The following table* lists conditions for which there is reasonably good evidence for acupuncture treatment. If a condition is not listed here, it does not necessarily mean that acupuncture does not work for it, it may simply mean that not enough good quality research has been done to assess it properly. Please contact me to find out if you could benefit from acupuncture.
Does it hurt?
A tiny bit, not very much, and the results are generally worth the small amount of discomfort.
How many treatments?
Up to 10 treatments. These may be daily if the condition is acute, or weekly if chronic. If chronic, further periodic treatments will be necessary.
How much does it cost?
The introductory interview is free. Each acupuncture treatment, lasting about 30 minutes, costs €60.
* Summary of the findings of the Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald J and Janz S, 2017). The full document (81 pages) is available from the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) at http://www.acupuncture.org.au.