FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments, both conventional and complementary, on offer in the UK today. Side effects are very rare. All needles are sterile and used only once. Strict hygiene practices are followed in accordance with British Acupuncture Council guidelines and local byelaws.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are very small, fine and solid and therefore completely different to the needles used by your doctor or dentist. Acupuncture needles do not hurt or bruise in the same way as other needles. They rarely cause pain, but you can expect to feel a sensation when the needle contacts your energy. This is different for every person. It is often described as a dull, tingling, or sharp ache which only lasts a second or so.
How will I feel afterwards?
Everyone responds differently to treatment. Some people feel very relaxed or drowsy, whereas others are energised and ready to take on the world. There is no problem returning to work after a treatment, but many people prefer to take it easy afterwards to make the most of the relaxing effects.
Occasionally a patient finds that their symptoms worsen after the first treatment, although they are short-lived and they feel more able to cope with them. This is usually seen as a good sign and should be reported to your acupuncturist.
Can I smoke and drink while receiving acupuncture?
You are advised to avoid alcohol for 24 hours after your treatment as it can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. Your acupuncturist can give you treatment, support and advice about reducing your alcohol intake and giving up smoking if you wish.
Can I have acupuncture and take my medication?
Yes, acupuncture does not interfere with your medication. When you feel better, you may want to reduce the amount of medication you are taking. In this case, it is important that you talk to your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Always tell your acupuncturist about your medication, and any changes to it, as this needs to be considered when planning your treatments.
Do I need to tell my doctor?
It is completely up to you whether you tell your doctor about receiving acupuncture treatment. Most doctors are supportive of acupuncture and will not discourage a patient from receiving treatment.
Can children and babies receive acupuncture?
Yes. Children and babies respond very quickly to acupuncture and require very little treatment. Smaller, finer needles are used or methods of treatment that do not require needles may be preferable. Children under 16 years must always be accompanied by their parent or guardian during treatment and babies or small children receive treatment while being held by their carer or whilst sitting on their knee.
How many treatments will I need?
Everyone responds differently to acupuncture and sometimes the effects are dramatic after the first treatment, whereas others need more than 6 before they start to feel better. Longstanding problems take longer to heal than recent ones.
Initially, you will need to come once a week, with treatments spacing out over time. Once your condition has begun to improve, the treatments can be spaced out to encourage your body’s own ability to heal to take over. Treatment at this time will prevent your symptoms from returning and ensure a continued improvement. Soon you will reach a stage where you only need to come a few times a year as a preventative measure.
If you would like to find out more about acupuncture then the following websites may be helpful.