Acupuncture is the Ancient Chinese practice of using fine needles on specific points of the body to clear blocked channels of energy. This eases many aches and pains and promotes the balance necessary for good health.
Acupuncture is widely available throughout the whole of Andalucia, but you will find more English speaking practices concentrated on the Costa del Sol. This is especially true of the stretch from Malaga and Torremolinos to Estepona to the west - and Nerja to the east. Many thousands of UK residents and tourists live in and visit these areas the whole year round and acupuncture is becoming ever more popular and widely available. Many British and other foreign residents and tourists discover acupuncture for the first time when the come to Andalucia. Make sure you are comfortable with the practitioner and if you see no evidence of the usual framed certificates on the clinic walls, then don't be shy to ask for details of their training and experience. If you are unsure, or new to the area or simply on holiday, it's a better idea to attend a reputable clinic in a main town, than to reply to a small ad or to have a home or hotel visit.
Acupuncture has been practiced in China for over 3,500 years. The Chinese see the body as having two opposite but complementary forces - Yin (negative) and Yang (positive). When these two forces are balanced, then the bodies energy, Chi, flows freely along routes known as meridians. Imbalance blocks the Chi and causes ill health. When the acupuncturist places the fine needle in the appropriate point of the meridian, it taps into the body's natural energy flow and rebalances the Yin and Yang to bring back harmony and good health.
My first experience of acupuncture was in Torremolinos. I was depressed and run down after a family bereavement. A close friend recommended an experienced Acupuncturist in Torremolinos. Spanish, but with good knowledge of English and an assistant to translate where necessary, I was immediately put at ease and had full confidence in the treatment, which soon put me back on track to face life with renewed energy. I had ten sessions over about 5 weeks and already saw big improvements after the third visit.
In a first consultation, you will be asked for a full medical history and to describe present symptoms. The acupuncturist treats the patient, rather than simply the condition, working on the basis that each individual reacts in his/her own way to a condition and also to treatment.
Although I was a bit nervous about the needles - there was no need. They are so fine that you barely notice them being inserted just below the skin and once in place, you feel nothing at all and are left to relax for anything from 30 minutes to an hour. You will normally be lying on a massage table in an individual treatment room with soft lighting and pleasant music to help you to drift into a deep state of relaxation. Many people fall sound asleep and feel slightly groggy after the session. This often leaves you with a deep sense of calm and wellbeing for hours afterwards. A common side effect to acupuncture is an improvement in sleeping patterns and an energy boost in the process.
Your energy flow can be disrupted by both emotional and physical trauma. Stress, anger, anxiety, fear and grief can cause as much disease as a physical injury. Many ailments are treated with acupuncture, including: arthritis, asthma, depression, migraine, circulatory problems, back pain, skin disorders, constipation, etc.
Some people book a few sessions of treatment simply as a 'pick-me-up' or 'energy drive' to combat a busy, stressful lifestyle or to ward off feeling a bit down.
Scientific research has found that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and some studies conclude that the process releases endorphins, which blocks pain signals being sent to the brain. Much investigation has lead to the World Health Organisation recognizing acupuncture as a legitimate form of treatment.
There are some excellent acupuncturists practicing in Andalucia and especially the Costa del Sol and the prices per session are generally lower than the UK and some other parts of northern Europe. If you are in any doubt as to the authenticity of the clinic or the practitioner, ask to see certificates and references or ask a local GP if they are reputable.
If you are pregnant, have a specific ailment or are taking prescribed medicines, consult your GP before booking treatment and give all information to the acupuncturist from the outset.
Very Important Note: make sure the needles are always new and completely sterile. They should be properly disposed of after their one-time use.