Ancient Chinese therapy may help you sleep better

C092169-2_MAG_FIRSTPERSONACUPUNCTURE  phot kate 2 Dec 09''Mark Shepherd at work.C092169-2
C092169-2_MAG_FIRSTPERSONACUPUNCTURE phot kate 2 Dec 09''Mark Shepherd at work.C092169-2

Research has revealed we’re a nation of zombies, with one in six of us in the south east claiming to feel like one after a disturbed night’s sleep.

Results show more than two-thirds of people in the UK are getting less than the recommended eight hours of sleep a night, with money worries (53 per cent), work (35 per cent) and needing the toilet (30 per cent) causing the most unrest.

Acupuncture Awareness Week, which runs from today (Monday, February 25) until Sunday, March 3, aims to educate people about how traditional acupuncture can help improve sleep and aid relaxation. Among the 82 per cent of us who admit to sleeping troubles or insomnia, many of us are missing the point when it comes to this ancient Chinese medicine.

With 2.3m acupuncture treatments carried out each year, traditional acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today.

Yet statistics show one in four of us would only consider acupuncture for sleep as a last resort.

Almost one in five of people admit they didn’t realise acupuncture could benefit them, despite its widely-recognised health benefits.

Mark Shepherd, a member of the British Acupuncture Council, said: “Traditional acupuncture is known to be enormously beneficial for helping to correct sleep problems. Many are surprised by just how relaxing and comfortable an acupuncture treatment can be.”

Traditional acupuncture is a natural system of healing that has been practised for over 2,500 years. It is a safe and effective treatment that involves inserting very fine sterile needles, at specific points on the body.

In addition, the research revealed many people are still resorting to medication, with one in ten admitting to taking sleeping pills to help them sleep. Statistics also show that when having trouble sleeping, many of us engage in activities that actually make it harder for the brain to switch off.

Nearly a third of us admit to reading a book while almost one in five say they watch TV or a film.

Mark added: “At some point in our lives, we all experience periods of disturbed sleep and even insomnia. The feelings a lack of sleep can generate range from mild annoyance to feeling absolutely drained.

“Many patients find a course of traditional acupuncture can be extremely beneficial to ease them through these times.

“When looking for a practitioner, I recommend you find a fully-qualified acupuncturist registered with a professional body such as the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) to ensure a high standard of care and safety.”

To achieve BAcC membership, practitioners must first undertake extensive training in acupuncture (minimum three years’ full-time at BSc or BA degree level) which includes physiology, anatomy and other biomedical sciences appropriate to the practice of acupuncture, and their expert practice skills are maintained by following a mandatory individual programme of continuing professional development.

A member of the British Acupuncture Council and the Federation of Holistic Therapists, Mark Shepherd practices acupuncture, tui na massage, reiki, reflexology and cosmetic facial acupuncture in Chichester and Petworth.

Contact him on 07517 422 447, email or visit