Kyrle Probus Club
   of Ross-on-Wye


Acupuncture - by Dr. Brian Cole

October 20th Talk


ACUPUNCTURE is one of the few alternative treatments that seems to work and he would recommend it to anyone, guest speaker Dr Brian Cole told members of Kyrle Probus Club at their recent meeting.

A retired GP now living in the Forest of Dean, Dr Cole told his audience that he spent 32 years as a GP in Coventry and that acupuncture was one of the most interesting things he had learnt in his medical career. He explained that he took up acupuncture late in his career after responding to an advert for a course in basic acupuncture, as part of keeping up to date with GP medicine.

“I feel that I did more good for my patients in my last four years as a GP than in all the previous 28,” he stated.

Dr Cole said he had personal experience of the success of acupuncture. He said there were over 100 people on the course he went on and as part of it, they used to practise acupuncture on each other. He had been suffering from a pain in his neck and a colleague ‘stuck needles in me.’ When he got up the next morning, the pain had gone. “That was 14 years ago and I have not had a neck pain since,” he said.

The underlying principle of acupuncture treatment is that illness and pain occur when the body’s vital energy (‘qi’ or ‘chi’) cannot flow freely and an imbalance occurs. ‘Qi’ flows in and around the body in channels known as meridians. By inserting the ultra-fine needles into specific acupuncture points, the acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free flow of ‘qi’ to restore balance and trigger the body’s natural healing response.

There was some debate about where the use of acupuncture started, but it was generally accepted that it started in China, where it is still widely used as well as parts of rural India. The origins of acupuncture are shrouded in mystery, he said, although one popular story has it that a soldier, who had a painful shoulder was shot in the foot with an arrow during a battle and his shoulder pain disappeared.

Western acupuncturists went to China and brought it back, while books on it were published in France and acupuncture is now popular all over the world, one of the few alternative treatments that seems to work, said Dr Cole.

“I found that 70 per cent of patients in whom normal medicine had previously failed, were cured or improved by the use of acupuncture, while 20 per cent had some benefit and ten per cent did not respond at all,” he said. “While using it as a first treatment, I found that 80 per cent of patients were cured or improved, while ten per cent had some benefit and ten per cent no benefit.”

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