Health + Wellness

Acupuncture Awareness Week

This year, Acupuncture Awareness Week takes place from 2nd-8th March, and is highlighting the effects of stress. The event is supported by the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC); a voluntary register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.


Up to half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress every year, which can often result in illness. The signs of stress can vary from one individual to the next. They may manifest physically as an illness, tiredness or lethargy, or as symptoms such as sore, tight muscles, dull skin, lank hair, or erratic sleep patterns. Mental stress can result in depression, mood swings, anger, frustration, confusion, paranoid behaviour, jealousy or withdrawal. Other factors that affect stress levels include alcohol, smoking, exams, pregnancy, divorce, moving, bereavement, lifestyle, drugs, poor nutrition and unemployment.

Stress is a common complaint cited by acupuncture patients with a variety of possible associated symptoms – the most prevalent of these is anxiety. An increasing weight of evidence from Western scientific research is demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating a wide range of conditions. From a biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture stimulates the nervous system, influencing the production of the body’s communication substances: hormones and neurotransmitters.

Lead acupuncturist at Acupuncture South East in Tunbridge Wells, Eleanor Henderson, explains: “Research shows that stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response, thus promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.”



With 2.3 million treatments carried out each year, acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. Members of the BAcC practice acupuncture based on Chinese medicine principles that have been developed, researched, and refined for over 2,000 years. The BAcC currently registers over 3,000 qualified practitioners.

Acupuncture is now widely used and accepted all over the world. In the UK, more and more people are finding out what acupuncture can do for them. Acupuncture works to help maintain your body’s equilibrium. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to regulate the flow of Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) – your body’s vital energy. Acupuncture needles are much finer than needles used for injections and blood tests. For a number of lifestyle and environmental reasons, Qi can become disturbed, depleted, or blocked, which can result in symptoms of pain, illness, or disease.

Many people come to acupuncture to relieve specific pain like osteoarthritis of the knee or for relaxation and stress relief. Some use acupuncture because they feel generally unwell but have no obvious diagnosis. Others choose acupuncture simply to enhance their feeling of wellbeing. It can also be used effectively alongside conventional medicine. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages including babies and children, as well as in pregnancy. BAcC acupuncturists are trained to recognise potentially serious underlying health conditions and may refer you to your GP if they consider it appropriate.

Acupuncture South East

Eleanor Henderson is the founder of Acupuncture South East. She has a first class BSc (Hons) degree in Acupuncture and is a member of the BAcC, as well as a qualified sports massage and pregnancy massage practitioner.


She has a specific interest in mental health, gynaecological and reproductive issues, as well as musculoskeletal pain and chronic pain from her associated work as a sports massage therapist. Her treatments combine acupuncture, massage, lifestyle advice and traditional Chinese medicine techniques to create a holistic treatment plan tailored to each patient. Such treatments may be covered by your private health insurance plan.

Eleanor is based at the Tunbridge Wells Osteopathic Clinic, but she also covers the whole of Kent and the South East.

As a special offer for insideKENT readers, Eleanor is offering a FREE 30-minute taster treatment in March. To book, or if you have any questions regarding acupuncture, email or visit You can also follow her on Twitter @henderhands.



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