Frequently Asked Questions
How many sessions will I need?
That depends on your individual condition. At first I 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 and chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. Once your health has stabilised you may need top-up treatments every few weeks. Traditional acupuncture is also very effective when used as preventive healthcare and many people like to go for a 'retuning' session at the change of each season throughout the year.
What does it feel like?
Most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing to the point where many clients will fall asleep on the treatment couch with needles in. Patients often describe the needle sensation as a tingling or dull ache. This is one of the signs the body's qi, or vital energy, has been stimulated. Once needles are in most people aren't aware of them at all.
I'm scared of needles. Can I still have acupuncture?
Acupuncture needles are very much finer than the needles used for injections and blood tests. You may not even feel them penetrate the skin and once in place they are hardly noticeable. There are also other modalities that I use, such as cupping, guasha and moxa, that don't require needles.
What should I do before a treatment?
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. However, having something in your stomach is a good idea. You should avoid alcohol and food or drink that colours your tongue such as coffee or strong tea. It is a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothes so that the acupuncture points, especially those on your lower limbs, are easily accessible.
How will I feel after 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 any other machinery soon afterwards.
Are there any 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 needle point or a short-term flare-up of your symptoms as your qi clears and resettles.
Should I tell my doctor I plan to have acupuncture?
If you are currently receiving treatment from your doctor it is sensible to mention that you plan to have acupuncture. Your acupuncturist will need to know about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.
Should I still take my prescribed medication while I'm having a course of acupuncture?
Yes. The acupuncture treatment 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 medication without professional guidance.
I have private medical insurance - will it cover the cost of my treatment?
That depends upon your insurer. As the demand for complementary medicine increases more private health insurance companies are beginning to offer cover for traditional acupuncture. You should check your individual policy details.
If you need any information on how acupuncture can help a particular condition, please get in touch or look on the BAcC Website.