Acupuncture - your Questions answered
What is Acupuncture?
An ancient form of treatment, dating back over 2000 years, it originated in China spreading early to many other Asian countries and more recently to the Western hemisphere. It has developed into many styles over that time and is currently used to treat a wide range of disorders. The process of acupuncture involves the use of very fine needles to penetrate the skin at points of known therapeutic effect (acupuncture points). There are many hundreds of these points on the body.
Is Acupuncture for me?
Acupuncture can benefit most people - you dont have to have a medical problem. You might just be feeling out of sorts, under the weather, below par. However most of our visitors have some sort of obvious ailment. Below are some of the most common conditions seen in our clinic:
Most kinds of pain including sciatica, back pain, neck pain, joint and limb pain, arthritis, post operative pain, fibromyalgia
Bells palsy, trigeminal neuralgia, shingles
Anxiety, depression, stress
Menstrual disorders, assistance with fertility treatment
Womens health generally including menopausal issues.
Low immunity (repeated infections) sore throat, sinus problems etc.
The Acupuncture Team.
All of our acupuncturists are members of the British Acupuncture Council.
As such they are bound by a rigorous code of ethics and practice and are fully insured.
Many health schemes including Westfield recognise our acupuncture.
Treatment - What to expect.
Before treatment - It is best to wear loose comfortable clothing and remove as much jewellery as possible before coming. Needles are inserted into acupuncture points which can be almost anywhere on the body.
The consultation - Your first visit is called a consultation and this will last approximately 1 ½ hours. The consultation consists of two parts. During the first part, lasting ¾ hours, you will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, diet and lifestyle etc. Your acupuncturist may also try to obtain more information about your condition by checking your pulse, tongue and abdomen in order to make a complete diagnosis.
With this information a comprehensive picture of your state of health is formed which will direct the way that treatment is carried out. Immediately following this, your first acupuncture session is carried out - this will last a further ¾ hours.
The treatment - Normal treatments last 45m minutes to 1 hour. At each visit you will be asked how your symptoms have changed. Your abdominal, pulse and tongue readings may also be re-assessed to see how you have progressed.
You will then be given acupuncture and your reponse to this can be continually monitored throughout the session. The acupuncture is carried out using fine needles placed to a few millimetres depth beneath the skin.
Some people feel nothing after insertion, others feel a heaviness, tingling or warmth which may extend out from the needle. The needles may be left in place for varying amounts of time.
After treatment - Often there are some immediate changes in symptoms but with long standing problems the results of acupuncture can take more time to see. You will probably feel more relaxed after treatment and it is recommended that care be taken travelling home. It is also wise to abstain from alcohol immediately after treatment and try to drink an extra glass or two of water.
After a course of treatment - Acupuncture helps you to achieve a better state of balance. This improved state of equilibrium, will be felt by you, in a variety of ways. Your general sense of well-being will improve, you may start to sleep better, feel calmer and notice increased energy levels. Your main symptoms should be eliminated or improved and furthermore you may find other long standing health issues begin to improve
Frequently Asked Questions
How many treatments will I need?
Normally, especially with chronic conditions, repeated treatment is needed to reinforce and stabilise the effects of acupuncture so that you do not continually regress. Acupuncture is normally given on a weekly basis to start with and the length of a course of treatment varies from person to person. After a period of regular treatment (usually anything from 6 to 12 weeks) you will probably reach a stage where the effects of treatment are holding and you feel substantially better. At this stage it is possible to either cease or reduce the frequency of acupuncture.
Does acupuncture hurt?
No. Most people find acupuncture very comfortable. Sometimes a mild sensation of tingling, dullness or heaviness can be felt, but this should not be painful.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is a very safe form of therapy when carried out by appropriately trained practitioners. As British Acupuncture Council members, we are bound by a Code of Safe Practise, approved by the Department of Health, defining hygiene and safety standards.
Can I claim acupuncture on my health insurance policy?
You will need to check the particular scheme that you belong to. Most major schemes, such as Westfield, will reimburse, when acupuncture is given by a British Acupuncture Council member.
Why choose traditional acupuncture?
Traditional acupuncture is such a valuable mode of treatment because it can deal with a wide range of problems. With it we can treat, mental, emotional and physical disorders. What is more we can do this simultaneously. Patients will normally come with a particular problem of more pressing need (e.g. shoulder pain or anxiety), but will also often have some background complaints (e.g. indigestion, IBS, chronic headache). Because of the holistic nature of traditional acupuncture all of these problems tend to respond at the same time. In other words, not only do your troubling symptoms clear up, but you also feel better in a number of other ways, from increased sleep to improved energy levels and a greater sense of well-being.
How many treatments will I need?
Response to treatment varies from person to person. In general the longer that you have had a problem (the more chronic) then the longer it will take to treat. Acute problems, say under 6 months duration will generally respond more quickly. For instance: a patient with pain in the shoulder after wrenching it 1 month ago may need as few as 2 or 3 sessions whereas a patient who has had backache for the last 10 years will more than likely need at least 10 –12 sessions (although they might start to feel the benefits after the first treatment or two). It is also normal for very deficient people, e.g. those who may be very run down through long stress or illness, to take longer to recover.
How often should I come for treatment?
A treatment schedule is flexible and designed to fit you. Obviously, if completely cured after one or two sessions, then this does not matter. However, most people come on a weekly basis to start with, then later on when feeling well enough, may reduce their visits to fortnightly, monthly, yearly or whatever suits. For some people, especially if in acute pain, more frequently would be better for the initial few appointments if they can manage it.
Is it all-right to have acupuncture when I am on medication?
This is, generally speaking, not a problem. You will always be asked about your medication on your first visit. Acupuncture will often help to ameliorate the side effects of your medication but does not interfere with it. If you are currently having medical treatment then it makes sense to tell your doctor, most will be happy for you to try acupuncture.
What about acupuncture needles?
All needles are pre-sterilised and pre-packaged. They are used only once and then disposed of. The needles that we use are a fraction of a millimetre in diameter (typically 0.12 to 0.25mm) and they are of top quality allowing for easy insertion. The needles are made of solid stainless steel –nothing is injected – and tiny by comparison to hypodermics.