Ian Robert Hope
Licentiate in Acupuncture
I first became interested in complementary therapies and acupuncture in particular whilst working as a staff nurse within the Intensive Care setting. I started to question the nature of health and illness giving much thought to the reasons why, people had become so unwell as to require life saving medical intervention. Having always been interested in the health and the general the well-being of people I decided to work with people in a way that was less invasive and extreme.
Having had acupuncture myself I was amazed at the effect it had upon me and realised that it was a fascinating and beautiful way of being treated, especially as I was seen as an individual and not just a composition of symptoms. It was at the juncture that I decided to train as an acupuncturist and went to study at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine, Reading in two disciplines of acupuncture, these being Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Five Element Acupuncture and qualified in May 2001.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a system of healing that has been established in Eastern countries for thousands of years and is practised worldwide today. It began following the discovery that stimulating certain area’s of the skin using fine needles affected the functioning of the body and developed into a system of healing based on this connection. In the west, acupuncture was thought initially only able to treat specific conditions such as pain or addictions, but as western understanding has evolved, so has the full potential of its benefits been acknowledged, accepted and utilised. It is now recognised as being an effective form of treatment for many conditions. The acceptance of acupuncture is now so widely spread it is used within many health care settings particularly by doctors and physiotherapist.
How can acupuncture help?
An imbalance whether it is physical or emotional can arise for many reasons with the end result creating a sense of unhappiness, illness or disease. Such conditions manifest themselves in various guises such as depression, emotional distress, M.E, menstrual or gynaecological problems, back, neck, hip pain or tightness, muscle/joint disorders, headaches, rheumatism, skin disorders as well as many physical or emotional problems.
The essence of acupuncture is its ability to re-established equilibrium between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects within the individual therefore bringing about a sense of wellness.
It can also be used as a preventative measure to strengthen an individual’s constitution especially when they do feel well within themselves without being ‘unwell’ in the western sense. It can also be used alongside conventional and other complementary medicines without adverse side effects
Diagnosis and treatment
The energy of the individual is distributed through pathways within the body, which are associated with a particular organ i.e. the Lung, Liver, Heart, Large Intestine etc. etc. When an energetic imbalance is present, a person may experience particular symptoms referred to in Chinese Medicine as ‘syndromes’. The aim of the diagnosis is to identify which syndromes underlie the specific complaint as well as the syndrome that reflects a persons’ constitutional type.
The initial consultation may take from 1 to 1½ hours depending on the individual circumstanceswith subsequent treatments taking up to 1 hour. The purpose of the initial consultation is to assess current health by gathering information regarding the current complaint and treatments to date. Commonly it may be necessary to gather information about medical and family history; physical conditions such as health of the skin, digestion, sleeping patterns. It also involves observations such as facial colour, sound of voice testing of emotions such as joy, grief, fear and anger.
Following a consultation a diagnosis is made and a treatment devised according to the individual. Treatment is then normally planned on a weekly basis and is a process of re-establishing the energy balance within the body, which is achieved in various ways. The two most commons ways are: the insertion of a fine needle into specific acupuncture points either reducing or stimulating the energetic flow on a particular pathway; the other is via the application of warmth to specific acupuncture points using a herb called moxa.
The length and frequency of treatment varies and very much depends upon the individual and the problem which is causing them concern. It is often the case that the longer the person has had a certain condition the longer it takes to treat. Because of this, there is no particular length of time allocated to the treatment process.
As a qualified practitioner and a member of the British Acupuncture Council I am bound by an ethical code and must observe a Code or Practice. I must also abide by stringent standards of hygiene, which have been approved by the Department of Health and provide protection against the transmission of infectious disease. I can only use pre-sterilised disposable needles, which are used only once and not shared between clients. If you wish to contact the British Acupuncture Council there number is 020 8735 0400.