Who has acupuncture?
Many people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or to relieve specific pains like osteoarthritis of the knee. Some use acupuncture because they feel generally unwell but have no obvious diagnosis. Others choose acupuncture simply to enhance their feeling of wellbeing. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages including babies & children. It can be used effectively alongside conventional medicine.

What can it do for me?
Some people turn to acupuncture for help with a specific symptom or condition, take a look at the research for specific conditions. Others choose to have treatment to help maintain good health, as a preventive measure, or to improve their general sense of wellbeing.

Because traditional acupuncture aims to treat the whole person rather than specific symptoms in isolation, it can be effective for a range of conditions. This approach also means that each patient’s treatment plan will be different. However, you can always ask Eleanor about other patients’ experiences, to give you an idea of what to expect. Many people return to acupuncture again & again because they find it so beneficial & relaxing.

In 2009 the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence recommended that acupuncture should be made available on the NHS, as a cost-effective short-term treatment for the management of early, persistent non-specific lower back pain.

Do I need to do anything before acupuncture?
Not really, but please do not arrive really hungry or after a glass or two of wine! If it is your first visit, please be sure to bring a list of the medication you are taking, & remember to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.

What does it feel like?
Acupuncture needles are much finer than needles used for injections and blood tests. When the needle is inserted you may feel a tingling sensation or dull ache.

Will I need to do anything after acupuncture? 

Acupuncture affects different people in different ways. Some people get tired after acupuncture, especially if they have not had it before.

Please note that it is advisable not to drink any alcohol on the same day that you have treatment. Acupuncture is a very subtle treatment, & the effect of alcohol may negate the efficacy of the treatment. This applies just to the day of treatment – taking alcohol on the day before or after is completely OK. Please do not book an appointment on a day when you are intending to drink alcohol afterwards.

Can I have acupuncture if I'm pregnant?
Absolutely! If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, please make sure that the acupuncturist knows, as some acupuncture points are contra-indicated in pregnancy.

Can children have acupuncture?
Children’s energy is very volatile & they can respond very quickly to treatment. As a rule, it is best not to use acupuncture on children under seven years of age, however acupressure may be used.
Young adults up to the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What happens when I go for treatment?
The acupuncturist will use a number of different diagnostic methods to get a complete picture of your health & lifestyle, including taking a full medical history, reading your pulses, & looking at your tongue. Based on this information, the acupuncturist makes a diagnosis & puts together your personal treatment plan. Acupuncture points are selected according to your symptoms. The single-use sterile needles come in sealed packs: they should be opened in front of you & are safely disposed of after each treatment.

Is it safe?
The results of two independent surveys published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 (MacPherson et al, White et al, both BMJ September 2001) concluded that the risk of serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. The needles used are single-use, sterile, & disposable. Responses to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness, & very occasionally minor bruising may occur. However, all such reactions are short-lived.

Should my doctor know?
If you have been prescribed medication we recommend you tell your doctor that you are planning to have acupuncture. Do not stop taking your medication. You should always tell your acupuncturist about any medication & supplements you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment. BAcC acupuncturists are trained to recognise potentially serious underlying health conditions & may refer you to your GP if they consider it appropriate.

How many sessions will I need?
Frequency & number of sessions depend on your individual condition. Some change is usually felt within five or six treatments, although occasionally just one or two treatments are sufficient. Some people choose to have regular acupuncture to maintain good health.

Is the cost of treatment covered by my private health insurance?
Possibly – please check with your health provider, as individual schemes have different terms and conditions.

Are my treatments confidential?
Absolutely. Your treatment will be completely confidential. Your employer, the police or your GP have no right to this information without a warrant. If you move elsewhere in the country and wish to visit another Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) practitioner, then your file may be transferred, but only with your permission.