Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should I know about acupuncture?
A: It is relatively painfree and bizarrely relaxing! For a more detailed answer, read on.
Q: Is acupuncture safe?
A: According to the 2001 York acupuncture safety study by Hugh McPherson et al, the risk of a serious adverse reation to acupuncture when given by a professionally trained acupuncturist was less than 1 in 10,000. Side effects, such as bruising or a light-headed sensation were found to be mild and of short duration.
Q: What about the needles used?
A: All needles used are specialist acupuncture needles which come in sterilised, sealed packaging. Needles
are only opened when needed, ie when actually being used, and once removed from the body they are placed in a sharps bin and disposed of as clinical waste, exactly the same as in your doctor’s
Q: Will it hurt?
A: The needles are ultra-fine and do not resemble hypodermic or sewing needles in any respect. When inserted by a fully trained practitioner, it feels as if someone has flicked your skin firmly with their finger. Once the needle is in place, then it may be stimulated to encourage the arrival of qi (known in the trade as ‘deqi’) which is commonly experienced as a tingling or a dull ache. Once in place, unless you continue to feel the qi, you should not really be aware that the needles are even there.
Q: Is there anything I should do before my appointment?
A: It is best not to have acupuncture on a totally empty stomach. So, if your appointment is in the morning, do have breakfast. However, it is also best not to eat heavily immediately before treatment. As I’ll be looking at your tongue, it helps me if you avoid food and drink which colours your tongue in the hour before treatment.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Ideally, clothing that is comfortable and a little loose. I am likely to need access to your arms and legs (certainly up to the elbow and knee) but, depending on the condition, I may need access to your back and torso. Any clothing is fine, but if it’s tight or I need to treat your back, you may need to remove your shirt or trousers / skirt.
Q: What will happen on my first visit?
Q: How will I feel after treatment?
A: You are likely to feel relaxed and calm. If the treatment has been particularly strong, you may feel quite tired or drowsy for a while. Occasionally there may be a flair-up of your symptoms for a few hours as your Qi settles to its new balance.
Q: Why should I see a British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) practioner?
A: BAcC members have received a minimum of three years’ full-time training in acupuncture and have been examined at degree level. Their training has included anatomy and physiology, as well as an introduction to the western models of disease and health appropriate to the practice of acupuncture in the UK. Additionally, they adhere to the codes of conduct as laid down by the BAcC and carry appropriate insurance.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: This varies enormously. Most commonly, a course of 4 – 6 treatments is given; but there are also many who have fewer or more treatments. It really does depend on the individual, the condition and what you are seeking from treatment.