Traditional acupuncture is a healthcare system based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years. It sees pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance - the aim of acupuncture treatment, then, is to restore the body's equilibrium.
The underlying principle of treatment is that illness and pain occur when the body's ‘qi’, or vital energy, cannot flow freely. There can be many reasons for this – emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, and infection or injury are among the most common.
People choose acupuncture for a wide variety of specific symptoms and conditions, or simply because they may feel low on energy or generally unwell (physically and/or emotionally). Others may choose acupuncture as a preventative measure to strengthen their constitution.
After a treatment, patients will often say they feel revitalised, more positive, or more relaxed.
Traditional acupuncture has been researched, refined and developed for centuries, and is now widely used and accepted all over the world.
After being introduced to Traditional Acupuncture in Cheltenham 2002, Ric became fascinated with its theory and tradition - with the simplicity of the Yin/Yang and Five Element concepts, and with the thousand-year history of an effective drug-free medicine. In2010 Ric completed a three year degree in Traditional Acupuncture at the College of Traditional Acupuncture in Warwick, qualifying with First Class Honours. He is a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC)
During your first visit Ric will hope to gain a thorough understanding of your main complaint and your general health and lifestyle. He will also take your pulse on both wrists, may examine your tongue, and may feel for areas of muscular tension or pain.
Ric will then put together your treatment plan. The focus is on treating the whole person - body mind and spirit - and not just symptoms; two people with the same Western diagnosis may well receive different acupuncture treatments.
By inserting ultra-fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, or warming the points using the herb Moxa, the aim is to re-establish the free flow of ‘qi’ to restore balance and trigger the body's natural healing response.
What some of Ric's clients say about his treatments
"Fantastic approach. And very knowledgeable. Thoroughly recommend." (BB - Cheltenham)
“I immediately started to feel better after my first treatment, and continued to make good progress throughout the first 5 sessions. I found Ric’s sympathetic and holistic approach very therapeutic and reassuring, both with the pain and in managing my stress levels. Every time that I visit Ric, I walk away from the appointment feeling relaxed with a general sense of well being.” (CY - Cheltenham)
“I’d never considered acupuncture before, and was amazed at the improvement after only the second treatment. Within a few months of regular treatments with Ric my quality of life has been the best I have known for 20 years.” (WL - Stroud)
“There were times when my mood was quite despondent, and I was feeling lacklustre and tired all the time. But during and since treatment I have enjoyed a better state of being… what a joy that my life is no longer determined and dominated by this! I am more relaxed and there is more enjoyment. The treatments have certainly been a positive experience and I cherish this.” (MM)
“I've been receiving regular acupuncture treatments from Ric for over a year; I've felt a big improvement in my symptoms. He has a real sensitivity and warmth which, coupled with his knowledge and passion for acupuncture, has made it a wonderful experience - despite me not being particularly keen on needles!“ (EP - Cheltenham)
If you can't find the answer to your question here, contact Ric.
How many sessions will I need?
That depends on your individual condition. At first your acupuncturist will normally ask to see you once or twice a week. You may start to feel benefits after the first or second treatment although long-standing and chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. Once your health has stabilised you may need top-up treatments every few weeks. Traditional acupuncture is also very effective when used as preventive healthcare, and many people like to go for a 'retuning' session every month, or at the change of each season throughout the year.
Do I need to take off all my clothes?
No. Occasionally points on the back, upper chest or abdomen may be used and it will be necessary to remove the outer layers of clothing, but the majority of commonly-used acupuncture points are on the hands and arms, and feet and lower legs. Therefore treatments may often involve just removing shoes and socks.
Is it safe for babies, children and teenagers?
Yes. Children and adolescents usually respond very well to acupuncture. Many acupuncturists specialise in paediatric care.
What does it feel like?
Most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing. Patients often describe the needle sensation as a tingling or dull ache. This is one of the signs the body's qi, or vital energy, has been stimulated.
I'm scared of needles - can I still have acupuncture?
Yes. Certain styles like Japanese acupuncture use needles that do not break the skin or are inserted extremely lightly. Acupuncture needles are very much finer than the needles used for injections and blood tests. You may not even feel them penetrate the skin and once in place they are hardly noticeable.
What should I do before a treatment?
Try not to have a large meal within an hour of your appointment as the process of digestion will alter the pattern of your pulse, and you may need to lie on your stomach. You should also avoid alcohol and food or drink that colours your tongue such as coffee or strong tea. It is a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothes so that the acupuncture points, especially those on your lower limbs, are easily accessible.
How will I feel after a treatment?
You are likely to feel relaxed and calm. If the treatment has been particularly strong you may feel tired or drowsy and it is worth bearing this in mind if you plan to drive or use any other machinery soon afterwards. You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment.
Are there any unpleasant side effects?
Acupuncture has virtually no unpleasant side effects. Any that do occur are mild and self-correcting. Occasionally there may be minor bruising at the needle point or a short-term flare-up of your symptoms as your qi clears and resettles. Chinese massage techniques (such as Gua Sha) can sometimes temporarily mark the skin. Such bruising is painless and generally clears within a day or two.
Should I tell my doctor that I'm having acupuncture?
If you are currently receiving treatment from your doctor it is sensible to mention that you plan to have acupuncture. Your acupuncturist will need to know about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.
Should I still take my prescribed medication while I'm having a course of acupuncture?
Yes. The acupuncture treatment may enable you to reduce or even stop taking some forms of medication but you should ALWAYS consult your doctor regarding any change of prescription. DO NOT stop taking medication without professional guidance.