Who has acupuncture?
A wide variety of people of all ages use acupuncture. Some women use acupuncture for support throughout their pregnancy. Children can benefit from acupuncture. It is also used alongside western medicine in palliative care. Many people first seek acupuncture for help with painful conditions such as osteoarthritis of the knee, headaches or low back pain. Other people choose acupuncture when their body systems are out of balance, even though they have no obvious diagnosis. Some choose to have regular treatment because they find it beneficial and relaxing.
Is there evidence that acupuncture works?
Evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness is growing. A large systematic review concluded that acupuncture was effective for chronic pain: osteoarthritis, back pain, neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pain. This review also showed that acupuncture was not a placebo and the effects persisted over time. Acupuncture has been included in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for Headaches (CG150) and for Chronic Primary Pain (CG193). The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN): Management of Chronic Pain (136) guidelines include acupuncture for lower back pain and osteoarthritis.
For many conditions a sufficient number of high quality clinical trials have yet to be conducted for researchers to draw firm conclusions. You can find detailed evidence on the British Acupuncture Council website: www.acupuncture.org.uk.
How can acupuncture help me?
I will treat you as a person, not just the condition which you have, so each person’s treatment plan will be different. I will be happy to offer a free chat about how acupuncture can help you.
What do acupuncture needles feel like?
Acupuncture needles are so fine that most people don’t feel them being inserted. It is normal to feel a mild tingle or dull ache as the needle is adjusted. Many people feel deeply relaxed during the treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
Weekly sessions are quite usual to begin with, for perhaps five or six treatments, reducing in frequency as your body responds.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of healthcare you can choose. Definitive surveys in the UK and Germany concluded that when practised by a properly trained qualified traditional acupuncturist, the risk of serious adverse events from acupuncture is extremely low.
Are there any side effects?
Sometimes a small bruise may appear when a needle is removed. Occasionally, people can feel dizzy or tired for a brief time after treatment.
Should I tell my doctor I’m having acupuncture?
If you have been prescribed medication I recommend you tell your doctor that you plan to have acupuncture. Do not stop taking your medication. You should tell me about any medication and supplements you are taking.
I am trained to recognise potentially serious underlying health conditions and will refer you to your GP if appropriate.
Will my health insurance pay for acupuncture?
Some health policies now cover treatment with BAcC registered acupuncturists so check with your insurer.