Trinity has introduced a seated acupuncture group to our outpatient service. Theresa Quealy, Complementary Therapy Coordinator at Trinity, talks us through what acupuncture is, how it can help, and what our new seated acupuncture group will look like. 

"When I started working as the Complementary Therapy Coordinator at Trinity, I was impressed with the therapies on offer for our patients and their carers, and the impact these had on their wellbeing. I was also keen to begin offering an acupuncture service as well, because I wanted to bring the benefits of acupuncture that I had delivered in other hospice settings, and also in my private practice, to Trinity’s patients. 

This month we have launched the first seated acupuncture group at Trinity, offering 6-8 sessions for patients who have been referred.   Our aim is to focus on patients with specific symptoms or side effects of treatment (such as insomnia, constipation, hot flushes, pain and fatigue).

The group is held in Trinity’s beautiful Mulberry Room, with relaxing music so that patients can enjoy a calming atmosphere throughout their session.  

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture aims to ensure that our body’s energy is kept flowing freely. This energy, or life force, is known as Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) and flows along channels - or meridians - around the body. When Qi doesn’t flow freely this can cause ‘stagnation’ of energy resulting in pain, discomfort or disease. Acupuncture aims to harmonise the two sides of this energy (the Yin and the Yang) so that our body’s systems work at an optimum level. 

People often think it is important to have more Yang (or daytime/upwards energy), but without the balance of Yin (or night-time/downwards energy) our bodies cannot rest and restore themselves. In the same way, too much Yin can lead to lethargy and a lack of ‘drive’, so the Yang has to be encouraged to return.

During an acupuncture treatment very fine sterile needles are inserted into specific ‘points’ along the various meridians, to access this energy or Qi and keep it all balanced and flowing smoothly. The transition from Yin to Yang, from down to up, from taking a breath in to a breath out, should all happen without difficulty or a sudden noticeable change (e.g. a cough or discomfort).

Emotional wellbeing

Acupuncture does not separate the energy of the mind or the emotions from the body. Too much mental activity and stress can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia or nausea. Almost everyone has had the experience of an upset stomach caused by nerves or anxiety. At the same time, if your body is not able to be active, your thoughts can slow and your mood can fall. Using acupuncture to keep your internal energy flowing well can help mental and emotional issues, as well as physical symptoms. 

Lots of patients have negative thoughts about needles, but the needles used for acupuncture are very, very fine and an acupuncture treatment is never as uncomfortable as some people worry it will be. Patients are often surprised at just how relaxing it is!

Group treatment

I’ll be running the group and focusing on acupuncture points that are on the lower limbs and hands and feet (and also the head) so that patients can easily be treated in a group setting. Many acupuncture channels start and end in the fingers and toes, so there are a lot of powerful points in these areas. Needles do not always have to be inserted close to an affected area (e.g. points in the feet are very helpful for intense headaches).

Patients can stay just for the time of their treatment, or they can stay a little while longer, as it can often be very relaxing to stay seated and rest for a while after a treatment has ended.

Acupuncture at Trinity

Group settings that are often used at Trinity are really helpful because the patient can gain support from the dynamics of the group in addition to the treatment they receive. The patient can interact as much as they want and it’s a great way for people to realise that the hospice is more than just the inpatient unit. 

Trinity is here for patients for more than just their final few weeks. The treatments and support we offer outpatients can help them remain living at home, and in their own community, for longer."

Find out more about our outpatient care

View all the outpatient groups we are currently running

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