Frequently Asked Questions
Is acupuncture compatible with western medical treatments?
Yes, TCM is a Holistic and well rounded healing system that can be easily combined with the majority of other Medical Treatments. In China, it is very common to have an acupuncture and herbal treatment wing and a Western medical wing in the same hospital.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture needles are 25-50 times thinner than a regular needle, about the same width as a thick hair. There is generally mild sensation during the insertion of acupuncture needles, it has been described as unusual but not painful. Some people feel nothing at all, others experience a brief moment of discomfort as the needle penetrate the skin. Some experience mild sensations of tingling, numbness, warmth, or heaviness. On different people, it has a different overall feeling, some people gain energy and feel revitalised, whereas others feel tired and relaxed, all feelings are completely normal!
How deep do the needles go?
Most acupuncture points are located very near to or on the surface of the skin. Usually needles are inserted from 0.25 to 1 inch in depth. Depth of insertion will depend on the nature of the condition being treated, the patients' size, age, and constitution. When the needles have been inserted, there is no further pain or discomfort.
How many treatments will I need?
The length and amount of treatments will vary from patient to patient. A consultation with an experienced practitioner about you and your condition will offer the best guide for the length of treatment, usually anything from 45 minutes to an 75 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Generally acute problems require less time and frequency of treatment. I have seen some patients who have seen complete symptom relief after one treatment. Chronic and severe ailments may require several treatments. Cosmetic acupuncture treatments are a 10 treatment protocol. Fertility treatments may require weekly treatment until conception occurs.
How does it work?
Needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points to increase or decrease the flow of Qi (energy) through that specific meridian thereby altering the state of energy in the body. There are several theories as to how the effects are produced. Preclinical studies have documented acupuncture's effects, but they have not been able to fully explain how acupuncture works within the framework of the Western medicine. It is proposed that acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and thus, affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person's blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature. The important thing is that it does work and that any side effects are extremely rare.
Is it safe?
BAaC approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed Practitioners. It requires that sterile, non-toxic needles be used and that they be labelled for single use by qualified Practitioners only. Practitioners should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient.
What should I expect during my first visit?
During your first visit, the practitioner may ask you at length about your health condition, lifestyle, and behaviour. The practitioner will want to obtain a complete picture of your treatment needs and behaviours that may contribute to your condition. She will want to be informed about all treatments or medications you are taking and all medical conditions you have.