About Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the oldest and safest medical systems used all over the world to restore, promote and maintain health but differs from conventional medicine. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

A few notes about the Medicine

Acupuncture is used both as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with conventional western medicine to help treat a wide range of acute and chronic conditions. Traditional acupuncture works by helping to restore balance to your body’s vital energy or ‘qi’.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body.

Most people come to acupuncture for help with a specific health condition, such as pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Some use acupuncture for help with more general symptoms, such as nausea, or because they feel generally unwell but have no obvious diagnosis. Others choose to have treatment as a preventative measure to help maintain good health or to improve their feeling of well-being.

Acupuncture treatment is aimed at treating the root cause of your condition as well as your main symptoms. A holistic therapy, traditional Chinese acupuncture treats the whole person – body and mind – and thus can be effective for a range of conditions.

Since 2009, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended that acupuncture should be made available on the NHS, as a cost-effective short-term treatment for the management of early, persistent non-specific lower back pain.

To find out how acupuncture can help you call us on 01342 31 31 06 and speak to one of our experienced Acupuncture Practitioners.

How Many Treatments will I need?

That depends on your individual condition. Some change is usually felt within five or six treatments, although occasionally only one or two treatments are sufficient.

Long-standing more chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. Initially your acupuncturist may need to see you more frequently, perhaps every one or two weeks. As the treatments take effect your appointments are likely to become less frequent. 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 happens during your first consultation?
During your first consultation your acupuncturist will ask questions about your current symptoms, your medical history, about your general health, your sleep, your appetite and digestion, and your general wellbeing.

Women are also asked about their menstrual cycle and any past pregnancies and childbirth.

Your acupuncturist will take your pulse on both wrists and may examine your tongue and feel for areas of muscular tension or pain in your body.

How is the treatment carried out?
Based on all the information you have given, the practitioner will make a diagnosis and put together your treatment plan, which may include lifestyle and dietary advice as well as acupuncture.

Your practitioner will use very fine needles to stimulate specific acupuncture points on your body. Because energy meridians range across the whole body, the points used are not necessarily close to where you experience pain or discomfort. For example, if you suffer from headaches needles might be inserted in your foot or hand.

The needles are left in place for about 20 minutes, during which time your pulses will be taken again to see how treatment is progressing. Acupuncture appointments typically last for 45 – 55 minutes.

As well as needling acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncturist may use other Chinese Medicine techniques including moxibustion (which involves the application of heat to an acupuncture point or area of the body using a herb – artemisia vulgaris), tui na (Chinese Massage), other therapeutic massage techniques or cupping (where glass cups are applied to the skin to stimulate blood flow and move the body’s energy.

What will I feel?

Most people find acupuncture relaxing and often feel very calm after a treatment.

You may feel a little tired or sleepy and should take this into account if you are planning to drive or use heavy machinery straight after your treatment.

You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment.

Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments, both conventional and complementary, on offer in the UK (Source: British Acupuncture Council, 2011). Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting.

Cupping can sometimes temporarily mark the skin. Such bruising is painless and generally clears within a day or two. Our acupuncturists use only single-use, sterilised disposable needles.

We adhere fully to the British Code of Practice Code of Safe Practice and Guidelines.

Should my doctor know?

If you have been prescribed medication we recommend you tell your doctor you are having acupuncture. Do not stop your medication without consulting your doctor.

You should also tell you acupuncturist about any medication or supplements you are taking.

What can Acupuncture do for me?
Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide range of acute and chronic health problems. It is also used preventatively to maintain good health and enhance well-being. Every patient is different. The aim of acupuncture is to identify your underlying imbalances and to treat you as an individual. So every treatment is different.

Here at the ICOM Acupuncture Clinic we treat men and women of all ages from babies and young children to senior citizens in their nineties.