What can acupuncture treat? Acupuncture is considered beneficial for a wide range of conditions. NICE (National Institute for Health Care and Clinical Excellence) recommend acupuncture on the NHS for migraines and headaches. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) recommend acupuncture for chronic pain, including knee and low back pain. The World Health Organisation recommends acupuncture for a considerable number of varied health issues.
Who has acupuncture? Many people have acupuncture for specific reasons, such as back and joint pain, headaches, female menstrual and menopausal issues, digestive problems, stress and anxiety or for support with chronic conditions. Others have treatment because the feel out of balance and below par but have no obvious diagnosis. People also have regular acupuncture to maintain optimum health because they find treatments beneficial and relaxing.
What does it feel like? Acupuncture needles are very fine and treatment is not painful. It is not unusual to feel a mild tingling sensation or heaviness around the needles, this is Qi (energy) moving. Most people feel very relaxed during and after treatment.
Does it have side effects? Acupuncture with a properly trained and qualified acupuncturist, such as members of the BAcC is very safe and side effects are minimal. Occasionally a small superficial bruise may appear at a needle site. A few people report feeling a little light headed or tired immediately after treatment but this passes quickly.
I’m taking prescribed medication can I have acupuncture? Yes it is safe to have acupuncture when taking prescribed medication but please let me know what you are taking (this will be discussed during your first consultation).
Should I tell my GP I’m having acupuncture? If you are taking prescribed medication or having on going treatment from you GP, or any other health professional it is sensible and polite to let them know you are having acupuncture. I will be happy to contact them on your behalf if you wish.
Can I have acupuncture if I’m pregnant? Yes it is safe to have acupuncture during pregnancy, but please make sure I am aware (again this will be discussed at your first consultation).
How many sessions will I need and how often? This varies from person to person and depending upon the condition being treated. Long term chronic conditions generally more sessions than acute ones. Usually some effect and improvement is felt within the first three to four sessions. Occasionally just one or two sessions are all that is needed. Appointments are usually weekly to begin with, (although they can be more frequent) decreasing in frequency as you respond to treatment.
What should I wear, do I need to prepare for my treatment? Wear loose comfortable clothing if possible. You don’t have to do anything special prior to treatment, although its a good idea to have a light meal a little while beforehand and avoid alcohol or stimulants immediately before or after treatment. For more details see ‘Your Therapy Session’ section on this web page.
Can I get acupuncture on the NHS? Unfortunately availability of traditional acupuncture on the NHS is limited, although some NHS specialist clinics and GP surgeries do offer sessions of acupuncture.
Will my health insurance pay for acupuncture? Most health insurance companies cover acupuncture with BAcC registered acupuncturists. You should check with your insurer directly.