Frequently asked questions

Q: How does acupuncture work? 

A: Acupuncturists insert very fine needles at precisely located points to connect with your body’s qi. The points are chosen specifically for you after a detailed consultation covering every aspect of your health and lifestyle. The aim is to direct the flow of Qi to enhance your body’s healing response, thus restoring physical and emotional balance. Treatment is designed to affect your whole being as well as your symptoms so, as the condition being treated improves, you may notice that other health problems resolve and an increased feeling of wellbeing.

Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: This depends on the nature, severity and duration of your condition and presenting symptoms. Acute symptoms can often be cleared in one to four treatments. You may be asked to make some simple lifestyle adjustments to support your acupuncture treatments. This is likely to lessen the number of treatments required. Typically, a course of treatment consists of between 6 and 10 sessions at weekly intervals. Following this, occasional maintenance or preventative treatments may be advisable.

Q: Does acupuncture hurt?
A: Needling sensations vary and you may feel nothing at all. Most commonly you will feel a slight ache, pulling, tingling or numbness as the needle makes contact with the Qi. This normally lasts for only a few seconds.  Most people experience deep relaxation during an acupuncture treatment.

Q: Is acupuncture safe?
A: Acupuncture is 'one of the safest medical treatments, both conventional and complementary, on offer in the UK.' (BAcC) The results of two independent surveys published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 showed that the likelihood of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture treatment is less than 1 in 10,000. 

Q: Are there any side effects?

A: Occasionally a small bruise may occur at the site of needle insertion.  Some people may feel slightly light-headed or tired after treatment, but this usually passes quickly.

 

Q: Is there any risk of infection?
A: Following British Acupuncture Council requirements, I use single-use, disposable sterile needles. Needling is carried out in accordance with stringent BAcC health and safety guidelines. 

Q: Do I need to have a specific complaint to be able to benefit from treatment?
A: Acupuncturists are trained to assess the state of a person's Qi by taking a thorough case history, taking tongue and pulse readings, and other observations. Treatment addresses any imbalances in the energetic system, which may have not yet produced specific symptoms. Acupuncture can help to strengthen the constitution and prevent recurrence of problems. Many clients experience unexpected benefits such as improved energy, mood and sleep patterns, alongside the resolution of their main complaint.

Q: Can I use acupuncture alongside other therapies?
A: Acupuncture can be safely used alongside conventional Western medical treatments. It is essential that you continue to take any prescribed medications and do not attempt to reduce the dose without your doctor’s agreement. It is important to inform your acupuncturist of all your current medications. If you are taking self-prescribed pain medication, you are likely to find that you can reduce the frequency and dose as the acupuncture takes effect. 

If you are using any other 'energy' therapies it is advisable to leave a gap of at least three days between these and your acupuncture treatment.

Q: Can children be treated with acupuncture?
A: Children generally respond very well to acupuncture treatment. Children below 16 years of age can be treated if accompanied by a parent or legally authorised guardian. It is important that the child is willing to receive acupuncture.

2020 Ruth Reffell

Ruth Reffell RN,BSc(Hons), Lic.Ac,

MBAcC,PGDipCHM,MRCHM.