Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that involves very fine needles being placed in certain points in your body. It works to provide balance in your body. It takes 3 years to become a qualified acupuncture practitioner because they need to understand Western medicine as well so that they can diagnose the best course of action for their patients. However sometimes a group of points can be used without needing any diagnosis and this type of treatment is called a formula treatment. The SMART UK ear acupuncture formula treatment is one of these and is available to you while you are here.
Ear acupuncture has traditionally been used to support people with addiction. However, it is increasingly being used to treat other mental and emotional health issues such as post-traumatic stress, self-harm, anger management, sleep problems etc. It has even been used to support soldiers currently fighting in Afghanistan.
It involves putting 5 very fine needles into certain points in the ear. You are then allowed to sit in quiet for 40 minutes, at which point the needles are removed. The 5 points are all designed to help keep you calm, to aid your motivation, to keep anxiety at bay and to improve your well-being.
The treatment will be given to you by one of the members of staff here, who will have been trained by SMART UK. You can rest assured that SMART members maintain the very highest standards of clinical care. Not only have they been through a very intense training course to qualify as SMART members, but they also have to be reassessed every year.
Remember firstly that this is a tool that is used alongside all sorts of other things to keep you well, and that the benefits of auricular acupuncture are proven by research.
You may experience improved well-being without the use of chemicals
Stress could be greatly reduced
You may find that you sleep better
Panic attacks may be more manageable
Any withdrawal symptoms may be reduced
You may see a decrease in anxiety levels
You may feel calmer, and more energised
It may make you want to engage further in the service and other treatment options
It may make you want to co-operate more with the workers around you
You may feel less hostile and more able to stay calm in difficult situations
You may feel more relaxed than you have done for a while
You might even find that your medication is reduced
You will have an opportunity to sit still and chill out
You may feel more stable and more in control
This could be the first step to a new you
How does it work?
Simply put, the acupuncture needles stimulate nerves that go straight to the parts of the brain that have been imbalanced by the use of drugs and alcohol, and works towards returning brain chemistry to normal.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What actually happens when I come for treatment?
Firstly nothing will happen without your consent. On your first visit you may be asked to give written consent to a course of treatment and then for every session thereafter you will be asked for verbal consent. The practitioner will check the shape of your ears – everyone is different, just like a fingerprint – so that they can be sure where the needles will go. They will give you a wipe for you to clean your ear with, and you will both clean your hands to start the treatment off. They will then put the needles into your ear, one after the other. You will be asked to breathe in, then breathe out and the needle will be gently inserted on the breath out. Once all the needles are in you will be allowed to sit or lie quietly for 40 minutes. Someone will be in the room with you at all times. After the 40 minutes, the needles will be removed.
Will it hurt?
The needles that are used are very fine and are designed specifically for this treatment. However, sometimes it will pinch a little, but the sensation is brief and SMART members are taught the quickest and most painless way of giving this treatment. The best thing to do is concentrate on the breathing in and out instructions that your practitioner will give you.
Will I bleed?
You will not bleed when the needles go in. You may bleed a little when the needles are removed. However, this is quite normal and you will be given a cotton wool ball to wipe up the blood.