NICE guideline for chronic pain: "painkillers out, acupuncture in"

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is delighted to see that acupuncture is one of only four treatments to be recommended for chronic pain by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). From now on, painkillers and all other drugs apart from anti-depressants will be off the menu.

Around a third of the population may be affected by chronic pain – many also have a diagnosis of depression, and two-thirds are unable to go out to work. The new recommendations cover conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic neck, muscular or pelvic pain. Traditional acupuncture can provide benefits across the whole spectrum of health issues: emotional support as well as pain relief.

Acupuncture is one of the best options for painful conditions – it is also very safe when given by well-trained practitioners, and we set stringent standards for our members to follow. The BAcC is registered with the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), allowing GPs to refer their patients to our members for acupuncture, as long as NHS funding allows.

This NICE guideline is open for consultation until 14 September. The BAcC will be responding to NICE and also launching a campaign on acupuncture and chronic pain in time for the release of the final report in January 2021.

You can find out more about acupuncture for chronic pain from your local practitioner – use the ‘Find an acupuncturist’ search above to contact a BAcC member in your area.

Kinseikyu - Postural Balancing

Kinseikyu is a system that combines moxibustion techniques and fascia release to help to align the body in order to achieve improved postural balance. The aim is to avoid injury and address musculoskeletal problems leading to recurring pain.

Kinseikyu was developed by a world-renowned moxibustionist and physiotherapist, Felip Caudet.  It allows us to view the body from a global, structural and biomechanical viewpoint.

There are many misunderstandings about posture, such as the belief that there are good or bad postures (with all the burden of this understanding). Posture itself is neither good nor bad; indeed, posture may or may not cause problems. But when it results in problems, it must be changed.

A New Way to Free the Body

Postural rebalancing allows structures to work together optimally, during movement and while maintaining a static position, so energy will flow better and the blood, nervous system, joints, fascia, and muscles will also benefit directly. It allows the restoration of function to structures so as to return to the pre-injury state.

Looking to adjust posture can be very useful, particularly in patients who frequently relapse for no apparent reason, with the same musculoskeletal injuries. We often think that recurring problems in a certain area are because we have developed a ‘weakness’ due to a previous injury. Though this may well be the case, particularly if the previous injury was not treated, but it may well be occurring due to postural imbalances that dispose us to these injuries.

We can detect postural problems in static posture, because at this moment we can see whether or not the system is aligned, whether there are front or back tendencies if any muscles are shortened, or whether there is internal or external rotation.

Using close observation and comparison with the functional model, we can see what structural changes we need to promote.

Patients participate in noticing imbalances in their posture, for example, you will become aware that you are carrying more weight on one foot than the other or that you are standing more on your toes than your heels. You will also hopefully become aware of changes and improvements by the end of the session.

I went to see Marian because I had been suffering from middle back pain for about 13 years. The pain started after a motorbike accident that required surgery on my abdomen. It was particularly strong during the night, which prevented me from sleeping well. I had tried many other different approaches but none had a lasting effect so I decided to give acupuncture a chance after a friend's recommendation.

I felt really at ease as soon as I walked into Marian's practice. Her presence made me feel safe and confident that I had chosen the right professional. After checking my posture, she realised that it wasn't balanced - that my weight was not evenly distributed. During each session she addressed that issue using moxibustion and her magic needles and each time my body was put back in balance. The positive effect of the treatment on my back was clearly noticeable from day one, and after seven sessions spread over a few months the pain was completely gone. As a result, I became able to sleep deeply again, which felt like a miracle after so many years of frustration.

I'm very grateful to Marian because her treatment improved my life tremendously. I have much more energy and feel much happier now.

Chronic Low Back Pain - Mauricio

I have had four sessions of Japanese acupuncture over the last few weeks and there has been a marked improvement in my level of mobility and pain relief. After the first session although there was still quite restricted mobility and pain when walking there was an underlying stability in the knee, which was not there before; this improvement has continued. A combination of acupuncture a daily routine of knee exercises and Ibuprofen has markedly reduced the time it has taken my knee to recover compared to the previous quite severe flare up.

Osteoporosis Of The Knee - Patricia (age 70 years)

My daughter recommended Marian for my persistent stiff and painful neck and shoulder problem. After only three sessions of acupuncture and heat treatment, I was pain free, to my great relief. Marian is an experienced professional, with a warm and empathetic demeanour. Highly recommend.

Painful & stiff neck & shoulders - Voula