This week is Acupuncture Awareness Week. Acupuncture is one of those ‘old school’ medical methods that has been around for at least 2000 years, originating in china. It’s part a ‘holistic’ (whole body) philosophy based around the ancient belief is that there is energy flowing through the body called qi (pronounced ‘chee’). People get pains and illnesses when this energy is blocked. A small needle is inserted into particular acupuncture points to release the blockage and re-establish balance in the body.
There are different points all over the body for different problems. Initially the thought of a bunch of needles being poked into your body may seem less than appealing. In reality the needles are really small, only about the width of a hair. Generally the treatment is not painful and most people find it relaxing.
There is a heap of evidence that it can offer relief for some common ailments. In UK medical terms acupuncture comes under the heading of ‘alternative therapy’ (something that is not mainstream and generally not proven) but you can actually get acupuncture officially on the NHS for lower back pain. However acupuncture practitioners and their patients alike believe it can treat a variety of aches and pains. It can also relieve the symptoms of allergies, insomnia and depression.
Some people are wary of acupuncture because they don’t know a lot about it. However those who find it works for them generally get to the stage where they will go and see their acupuncturist before they think about visiting their GP. You’ll be pleased to know that there is very little risk of a severe reaction, although in general you’ll have to find a private therapist and then pay for the treatment yourself.
The official body for this sort of therapy is the British Acupuncture Council. They have a list of approved practitioners who have been properly trained and will treat you with safe and sterilised needles.
Acupuncture Awareness Week is all about making people understand the benefits of acupuncture. You can read more about it on the British Acupuncture Council website where you can also find a professional acupuncturist near you. If you have a problem that your GP doesn’t seem to be solving it’s always worth considering alternative methods. Check it out at:
March 1st is self-harm awareness day. The UK has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe. Self-harm is when someone deliberately hurts their body. This urge doesn’t necessarily mean that a person wants to commit suicide. But there is a risk that the urge may grow and lead to suicidal thoughts. This is why it’s important to talk about issues that lead to self harm.
It is most common in young people and isn’t automatically linked to mental illness even though that may be a factor. People who self-harm do it in secret and the reasons are different from person to person. Some people purposely hurt themselves when they are sad or angry. Others do not understand why they do it or feel guilt and shame that they do.
Self-Harm Awareness Day is all about helping people who are self harming and really stressing how serious it is. Self-harming is not something to take lightly. It can lead to serious injury or even death.
When you have a friend or family member who is self-harming it is important not to just tell them to stop hurting themselves as it sometimes isn’t as simple as that. Talk to them about how they are feeling and work out different ways that they can manage their feelings. Really listening and being with someone can start to make a difference.
If you are worried about yourself or a friend http://www.selfharm.co.uk/ is a website aimed to help young people impacted by self-harm. Remember to never ignore self-harm and seek help if you are concerned. Go to your GP or health advisor at your school for advice.