Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture
Is it Safe?
The needles used are single-use, sterile and disposable.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Most people are pleasantly surprised by how painless acupuncture is. The needles are extremely fine and generally will not be felt. Great care is taken to avoid any discomfort. Once the needle is inserted you may feel a sensation like a dull ache, tingling or warmth.
Why is the first treatment longer?
The first session is longer than following sessions to allow time for a full and detailed history to be taken as well as leaving time for a treatment. We will talk about your symptoms and your overall health and life history.
What happens during a treatment?
At the start of treatment I will ask you about any changes you have experienced since the last session and how you feel the treatment is progressing. At this stage I will usually examine your tongue and take your ‘pulses’, which are located on both wrists. This is part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis. I will then insert fine needles into carefully selected acupuncture points, based on your individual diagnosis. The needles are usually left in place for about 20 minutes, during which time you relax. The treatment can also include some massage or the use of ‘moxa’, which is a warming and relaxing herb that is held over the acupuncture point. We will also look at lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and stress, and discuss how these may be improved to help with your symptoms.
How many sessions will I need?
This is discussed during the first treatment. It will depend on your individual condition and circumstances. Normally I would ask to see you for 4–6 treatments on a weekly basis, this should allow for most conditions to improve. Treatments can then be spread out. We will review the treatment plan, on a regular basis.
What if I take prescribed medication is it still safe to have acupuncture?
It is helpful to tell your doctor that you are receiving acupuncture, but there is no contraindication for having acupuncture whilst taking medication. It is useful to bring a list of any prescribed medication to your first appointment.
How will I feel after the treatment?
Most people experience a sense of relaxation and well-being after acupuncture. Symptoms generally feel improved in the first 48 hours. Occasionally there can be some tiredness and care should be taken after the treatment to avoid alcohol or over-activity. It is helpful to make sure that you have eaten before the appointment. Sometimes people experience some emotional changes following a treatment. When treating musculoskeletal conditions it is not uncommon to experience some stiffness in the area for a day after the treatment. All of these effects should subside of the first 24 hours following acupuncture treatment.