frequently asked questions
Is it safe?
Yes, acupuncture is very safe. Single-use, sterile, ultra-fine needles are used in each treatment. They are opened in front of you and disposed of in line with medical standard sharps disposal. BSc degree level training for traditional acupuncturists includes western biomedical sciences; anatomy, physiology and differential diagnosis/pathology.
Does it hurt?
Most people find acupuncture very relaxing and many patients fall asleep during a treatment. Patients often describe the needle sensation as a tingling or dull ache. This is one of the signs that the body’s qi, or vital energy, has been stimulated. Acupuncture needles are much finer than needles used for injections and blood tests. You may not even feel them penetrate the skin and once in place, they are hardly noticeable.
How many sessions will I need?
That depends on your individual condition. At first, your acupuncturist will normally ask to see you once or twice a week. You may start to feel benefits after the first or second treatment although long-standing, chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. Once your health has stabilised you may need top-up treatments every few weeks. Acupuncture is also effective when used as preventative healthcare and many people go for a balancing treatment at the change of each season throughout the year.
What should I do before a treatment?
Do not go to your treatment on a totally empty stomach but try not to have a large meal within an hour of your appointment as the process of digestion will alter the pattern of your pulse, and you may need to lie on your stomach. You should avoid alcohol, strong coffee and drinks that colour your tongue. It is recommended to wear loose-fitting clothes so that the acupuncture points, especially on your lower limbs, are easily accessible.
How will I feel after the treatment?
You are likely to feel relaxed and calm. If the treatment has been particularly strong you may feel tired or drowsy and it is worth bearing this in mind if you plan to drive or use other machinery soon afterwards. It’s important not to take too much physical, emotional, or mental stress upon yourself after treatment.
Are there any unpleasant side effects?
Acupuncture has virtually no unpleasant side effects. Any that do occur are mild and self-correcting. Occasionally there may be minor bruising at the needlepoint or a short-term flare-up of your symptoms as your qi clears and resettles.
Should I tell my doctor that I'm having acupuncture?
If you are currently receiving treatment from your doctor it is sensible to mention that you plan to have acupuncture. Your acupuncturist will also need to know what medications you are taking as this may affect your diagnosis and response to the acupuncture treatment.
Should I still take my prescribed medication while I'm having a course of acupuncture?
Yes. The acupuncture treatments may enable you to reduce or even stop taking some forms of medication but you should always consult your doctor regarding any change of prescription. DO NOT stop taking any prescribed medication without professional guidance.
What Does it cost?
First session 75-80 mins -£50
Ongoing sessions 45-60 mins -£45
Is acupuncture available on the NHS?
A few GP practices offer integrated healthcare with complementary therapies including acupuncture and some BAcC members work within GP practices and primary care trusts (PCTs), however, this is not common.
I have private medical insurance will it cover the cost of my treatment?
That depends on your insurer. As the demand for complementary medicine increases more private health insurance companies are beginning to offer cover for acupuncture. You should check your individual policy details.