All posts by Helen

Can acupuncture help me reduce my medications?

I am often asked permutations of this question, and my answer is that acupuncturists are not doctors, and deciding to change or reduce medication must always be done under a doctor’s supervision. It is important to have these conversations with your medical team, and it’s crucial if you are considering making changes to medications, that your GP and any consultants whose care you are under, are up to date on what you are doing.

Pharmacists can also be a very helpful resource, and in particular if you are using over the counter medications, they can advise you of contraindications and interactions they may have with your prescribed medications.

In terms of acupuncture and working with patients, some of the reasons people are looking at introducing complementary medicines and coming to us, is for example to help them reduce the number of painkillers they are taking, or see if we can do something to help their side-effects.  This can be very helpful as long as we have a team approach, realistic expectations and discussions, and the patient is also working with their GP or consultant.

The research evidence for acupuncture is growing, and we find that medical professionals are more and more aware of what we do, in some cases recommending acupuncture for particular conditions, so be sure to tell you GP if you are thinking of acupuncture, and keep them up to date on how you are getting along.

Helen
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Acupuncture and the menopause: the evidence base and how it works

Acupuncture and the menopause; hot flushes

Acupuncture is increasingly used for many different conditions, but one that may not at first be obvious if that of menopausal symptoms, where acupuncture has been shown in studies to be of benefit. Here I will present information on acupuncture for hot flushes, and other menopausal symptoms of sleep quality, mood and anxiety, memory and cognition and general quality of life.

I’ll also discuss theories and scientific studies showing how acupuncture may be achieving these effects.

I will also touch on hot flushes of other causes, in males and females after cancer-treatment using hormonal drugs these can also cause “vasomotor symptoms”, also known as hot flushes.

I’ll discuss how research shows acupuncture to affect the hormonal system, and finally I’ll leave you with some information and links to follow up for the references and bibliography relating to this area.

Read More Acupuncture and the menopause: the evidence base and how it works

Helen
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The importance of integrated working

Some common questions on how we work alongside allopathic medicine

“But what will my doctor say?”

Take a look at Helen Smallwood’s video about this exact question, which shows that acupuncture is popular and well-supported by the medical profession.

Studies have shown that majority (83%) of GPs agree acupuncture can be clinically useful and 72% that it can be cost effective. (Lipman et al, 2003), and 65% agree acupuncture is effective (White, Resch, & Ernst 1997).  In a study by the British Medical Association

“Overall 79% of the GPs agreed that they would like to see acupuncture available on the NHS” (BMA, 2000 p76).

Where GPs recommend acupuncture to patients, it is mostly for pain relief, musculoskeletal disorders, psychological conditions, stress, skin diseases and chronic illnesses (BMA, 2000; Giannelli, Cuttini, Da Fre & Buiatti, 2007; Adams 2001a; Ernst 2000b; Desser, 2003, Lewis & Halvorsen, 2003). Their support is shown by the fact that between 59% (BMA, 2000) and 79% (Lipman, 2000) of GPs would like to see acupuncture available within the NHS.

Read More The importance of integrated working

Helen
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Is acupuncture just a placebo?

We are always happy to answer any questions that people put to us about acupuncture. One of the ones that used to take me by surprise was “but it’s just a placebo, right?”
Really? What a question. I was surprised to consider it possible that anyone would believe that an entire profession, training colleges, regulatory boards and research bodies would be built on a treatment that was placebo. Where would the ethics and justification come from? Why would acupuncture still exist?
Read More Is acupuncture just a placebo?

Helen
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Acupuncture and depression, mental health

by Helen Smallwood, acupuncturist, Shaftesbury Clinic

This blog post will concentrate on the use and research regarding acupuncture and mental health, and with a particular focus on depression.

Acupuncture is known by many as being holistic, which means it looks at the workings of the body and the mind overall in an integrated way, as opposed to seeing them as separate entities. Some people are surprised when I tell them acupuncture can be very beneficial for mental health as their first impression is that acupuncture is a very physical therapy and they are mainly associating it with its uses for pain and injuries.

Read More Acupuncture and depression, mental health

Helen
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Acupuncture for anxiety and stress

I am often asked about acupuncture for anxiety and stress. We see a lot of patients for anxiety, stress, depression and other mood or motivational issues. Acupuncture is something that a great number of these patients have said has changed their daily lives for the better. This works best if they can address other lifestyle issues (e.g. diet, exercise, relaxation strategies), and we can very often recommend strategies and experienced colleagues to concurrently support these aspects if this is desirable.
Read More Acupuncture for anxiety and stress

Helen
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