Not To Be Sneezed At

Many of my patients who come for help with other ailments are suffering with hay fever due to the unusually high pollen counts this year. The condition can generate symptoms that include red eyes, itchy eyes, tears, coughing, sneezing, as well as tiredness, a pressure sensation in the head and itchiness. Although usually thought of as a seasonal problem, some people will unfortunately suffer with these symptoms all-year round. This is something not to be sneezed at.

Medicines, such as anti-histamines, are available to minimise or eliminate symptoms and are not without side effects such as drowsiness. This can affect your ability to concentrate or can make driving difficult.

Many of my patients are finding that acupuncture gives them speedy relief. Why might this be so? The exact pattern and degree of imbalance is unique to each individual – the acupuncturist’s skill lies in indentifying the precise nature of the underlying disharmony and selecting the most effective treatment. The choice of acupuncture treatment will vary from individual, but will most likely include points to soothe the respiratory system as well as to strengthen the constitution.

Please leave a comment below if you are affected by this article.

Acupuncturist Martin Dean is registered with the British Acupuncture Council and has 20 years practice experience. Their research summary on allergic rhinitis can be found here.

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

This article was triggered by a recent conversation with a pregnant patient – ‘I was totally unaware that acupuncture could do all these things’ she said to me. I realised that I’d had this conversation many times before. ‘Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?’ was her next question.

Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

Acupuncture Is Safe During Pregnancy If Carried Out By A Competent Acupuncturist

This article is for all those who have yet to ask the question.

Pregnant women are often averse to taking medication for minor ailments – acupuncture can offer a welcome alternative at this time. Many of my patients also remark how supportive they find our discussions in a period of change and anxiety.

There is general agreement that acupuncture is a safe treatment during pregnancy, providing you are treated by a practitioner who is properly trained and registered with a professional body such as the British Acupuncture Council. For example treatment points which have a downward or expulsive nature are avoided at this time, as are points on the abdomen.

In my own practice I see pregnant women with a wide variety of conditions such as nausea and vomiting, acid reflux, anxiety, back pain, symphysys pubis pain, constipation and migraine. For those of you that like to look at the research in these areas, a useful starting point is an article by renowned acupuncturist and former nurse Debra Betts, which can be found at the following website :-

safety of using acupuncture during pregnancy

Acupuncture can also turn breech babies. A long practiced adjunct technique known as moxibustion involves the application of heat to a point on the little toe. According to The British Acupuncture Council, ‘research is currently underway, but previous scientific studies have found promising results for the turning of breech babies; somewhere in the region of 80% success rate’.

Other research has shown that a short course of treatment to prepare the body for labour can reduce the experience of pain and reduce the length of a vaginal delivery. For this I usually recommend three pre-birth sessions from week 36 of pregnancy.

And finally I am often asked to help to induce labour in overdue pregnancies. It should only be used for induction when the mother has passed her due date, and then only with the consent of the obstetric team in charge of the birth. This ensures that all medical factors are taken into account and that the appropriate facilities are in place if the treatment is successful in encouraging the natural process to start. Acupuncture treatment can occasionally have a very rapid effect, but generally speaking it may take at least a few days to work. Acupuncture can also be used to restart labour if it has slowed down or if contractions have stopped.

It is always a pleasure to treat a woman during pregnancy as I feel it is a great opportunity to treat both the mother and her unborn baby. As I often remind my patients, I still only charge for one patient! Please contact me for advice and further information on 07969413158.

For further information you may find the following research summaries helpful.


British Acupuncture Council research fact sheets

Individually Crafted For You

Did you know that every acupuncture treatment is individually crafted for you?

Individually crafted for you

Migraine isn’t all in the head!

If two people with migraine headaches consult their GP they are quite likely to receive the same standard treatment based on their headache symptoms. If on the other hand the same two people were to consult an acupuncturist, they could each expect to receive differing treatment reflecting their individual make-up and life experiences. It is an example of a ‘whole system’ approach.

For example patient A is a 25 year old female who complains of one sided headaches that worsen with the onset of her monthly menstrual bleed. This is often quite heavy. Her tongue is quite pale. Her pulse on both wrists is rather small and soft. She has a tendency to feel giddy on standing up, and has been diagnosed as slightly anaemic by her GP. Her acupuncture treatment for the headaches focusses mainly on the loss of blood when menstruating and aims to reduce her heavy bleeding through acupuncture and moxibustion. She is also given dietary advice to favour blood nourishing foods and further acupuncture to improve her digestive system’s ability to extract the nutrients she needs from her food. Her headaches have diminished dramatically, and she now experiences one a month rather that two a day. Her menstrual bleeding is now more normal than it has been for years!


Patient B also has one sided headaches which start behind one eye and radiate to her temples. She has a long history of back pain and soreness of the knees, and complains of being hot at night (indeed her cheeks and hands became very red while she was sitting on the treatment couch). Her tongue is quite red, her pulse rapid and she seems very agitated. Her treatment focused on acupuncture to subdue her headaches and strengthen her kidneys, and to better regulate her temperature. B has a very hectic lifestyle – she and her husband have just started their own business – and this was identified as a likely contributing factor. After discussion with me she now observes a one hour ‘no laptop zone’ prior to going to sleep. Three months on she is headache free and her back feels considerably better.

According to traditional wisdom, the four methods of diagnosis are:-

  • Looking
  • Hearing
  • Asking and
  • Feeling

The two cases above illustrate how vital it is to see the whole picture because everyone has a unique set of circumstances and an individual set of ‘dashboard warning lights’. When seeing someone for the first time I often ask myself  ‘how did this person get to be like this?’ So when you book an appointment with a traditional acupuncturist, you should not expect a five minute consultation. The four methods of observation cannot be hurried. Treatment will be given according to your circumstances to include acupuncture (with or without electrical stimulus) , moxibustion, cupping, guasha, exercise, dietary advice, massage and auricular therapy.

Acupuncture – individually crafted for you.

Martin Dean can be contacted on 07969 413158

We always advise that you seek a proper medical diagnosis before undergoing acupuncture treatment.