Frequently Asked Questions: Acupuncture
What conditions can acupuncture treat?
For thousands of years, acupuncture has been used to treat many symptoms: from physical pain to emotional disorders and everything in between! Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine are based on the belief that disease is caused by an imbalance within the body and can be treated by fixing this imbalance by focusing on specific points and meridians on the body. In modern days, research is conducted to continue to explore the efficacy of acupuncture. For a full list of research into acupuncture treating various conditions, please visit the British Acupuncture Council website.
How many treatments will I need?
This is nearly impossible to answer as there are so many limiting factors. The number of treatments needed depends on the severity and longevity of your symptoms, your acupuncturist, how often you come for treatment and your own personal response to acupuncture. For best results, most acupuncturists would recommend weekly treatments, at least for the first 6 weeks.
Most people feel positive results after their first treatment, and notice longer-lasting effects after around 4-6 treatments. If this isn't the case for you, let your acupuncturist know. They may be able to change up your treatments or have some other recommendations to aid your recovery.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is very safe when practiced by a fully qualified therapist. If you are unsure about an acupuncturist's qualifications, there is a way to check. The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is a register of accredited acupuncturists in the UK who have been trained to a degree level and meet World Health Organisation standards of safe practice. You can find your nearest accredited practitioner by searching for your postcode on the BAcC website.
Is it hygienic?
Again, this really depends on who your acupuncturist is and that is why it is so imperative to see an acupuncturist who has had proper training. British Acupuncture Council acupuncturists follow strict regulations, including the use of single-use needles. As soon as the needle is removed from your body, it is safely disposed of and never used again.
Does it hurt?
This varies from person to person. Acupuncture needles are incredibly fine; as fine as a human hair, so even if you’re afraid of injections or blood tests you could still be fine with acupuncture needles. Most people describe a tapping sensation as the needle is inserted, followed by a dull ache whilst the needle is in. Others describe slightly stronger, ‘electric’ sensations. As long as you don’t feel uncomfortable, these sensations are normal and they can be a positive indicator of the treatment working. If you experience sharp or unbearable pain, please tell your therapist and they will remove the needle - it is likely the needle may have touched a nerve. Any pain should subside immediately when the needle is removed. Some people feel nothing!
Where are the acupuncture points?
There are acupuncture points all over the body, but the most commonly used acupuncture points are found on the arms, legs, back, abdomen and face.
Can I have acupuncture every day?
Yes, you can, but most people don't. People commonly have acupuncture treatments once a week.
Can I just come for general wellbeing?
Yes, you absolutely can, and many people do! Acupuncture can have an instantly calming or energising effect, and many people have acupuncture treatment as a 'pick me up'.