WHERE’S THE PROOF?
International clinical research trials have previously proved the effectiveness of this therapy for an extensive list of conditions and evidence for the benefit of acupuncture continues to increase. You can read factsheets about the latest acupuncture research at www.acupuncture.org.uk
Acupuncture is regarded as advantageous for a broad scope of ailments from tiredness, nausea and feeling generally unwell, to more specific conditions and pain. It is most commonly known for treating back pain, migraine and headaches and is recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).
As well as being used for chronic pain relief, there are many conditions that cause people to seek acupuncture, amongst them are:
- Aches and pains (and osteoarthritis)
- Bladder issues or other bodily function imbalances
- Infertility (male and female) support of IVF and other gynaecological factors (PMT, painful or irregular periods etc.)
- Anxiety and stress
- Trigeminal neuralgia
Short-term relief of tension type headaches
Short-term relief of migraine headache
Short-term relief of chronic low back pain
Temporary adjunctive treatment for osteoarthritic knee pain
Short-term improvement in the symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome
Short-term relief of neck pain or chronic neck pain
Short-term relief from temporomandibular (TMD/TMJ) pain
Plus many more that come under the disorders of:
- The eye, ear, nose and throat
- Emotional and psychological
Quite often, while being treated for a particular condition, people may notice other ailments being corrected as a result of treatment. This is because traditional acupuncture treats your whole body, not just the symptom. It tackles the problem at the root cause and each treatment is entirely tailored to your specific pattern of disharmony.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN I GO FOR TREATMENT?
Several diagnostic methods are used to put together an overall picture of your health and identify any imbalance. This diagnosis includes an initial very detailed consultation and subsequent reviews upon follow-up treatments.
CHINESE PULSE READING
PALPITION AND EXAMINATION
Very fine, sterile, single-use acupuncture needles are then inserted at specific points chosen to address your symptoms and your whole body. After resting for a while, the needles are removed.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE?
An acupuncture needle is as fine as a hair and most people do not feel the insertion. They will usually feel a dull ache or a tingling sensation as the needle is manipulated to adjust the flow of qi (body energy). Most patients find the treatment very relaxing.
IS IT SAFE?
When practised by properly trained and qualified practitioners, acupuncture is an extremely safe therapy. Research studies have defined the risk of adverse events to be very low. Choosing a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) ensures a high level of training, that rigorous safety standards are met and single-use, sterile and disposable needles are used and opened in front of the patient.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
General responses to treatment may include:
- Tiredness or slight dizziness after treatment in some patients and, if occurring, you should avoid driving. Occasionally a small bruise may appear at a needle site, however, these reactions are short-lived
- Pain during treatment may occur in around 1% of treatments, but your practitioner will check on your comfort and feedback throughout to ensure a pleasant treatment session
- Existing symptoms may become worse following treatment (in less than 3% of patients)
- Fainting may occur in some patients, particularly at the first treatment
To further reduce the risks, please make sure that your practitioner knows anything about you which may increase the risk of treatment, or carry a small additional risk, for example:
- A history of fits, fainting or funny turns
- A pacemaker or any other electrical implant
- A bleeding disorder or use of anticoagulant medication (such as warfarin)
- Damaged heart valves or have any particular risk of infection
SHOULD MY DOCTOR KNOW?
If you have been prescribed medication, it makes sense to tell your doctor that you plan to have acupuncture. You should tell your acupuncturist about any medication and supplements you are taking so that their effects can be taken into consideration during diagnosis and treatment. You should never stop taking any prescribed medications without consulting your doctor first! Acupuncture can be used alongside medication to help manage a condition.
HOW MANY SESSIONS WILL I NEED?
Frequency and length of treatment depends on your individual condition. Some change is usually felt after five treatments, however, in some cases improvement occurs after just one or two sessions. Weekly treatments are normal to begin with. You may be seen once or twice weekly at first, reducing in frequency as your body responds. Some patients may need long-term treatment.
WILL MY HEALTH INSURANCE PAY FOR ACUPUNCTURE?
Most health insurance policies cover the cost of treatments with BAcC registered acupuncturists. However, you should check with your insurer directly, as it is your responsibility to ensure you are covered. Patients are required to pay for their treatment in advance and will be given a receipt so that they may claim the fee back from their health insurance company themselves. The receipt given is purely as proof of payment to me and is not in any way connected to health insurance providers.