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Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions .....

Who has acupuncture?

Many people use acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or conditions. Others choose acupuncture as a preventative measure to strengthen their immune system or because they just feel generally unwell. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages including babies, children and the elderly. It can be very effective when integrated with conventional medicine.

Is it safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments on offer in the UK. Two surveys conducted independently of each other and published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 concluded that the risk of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. This is far less than many orthodox medical treatments.

Are there any side effects?

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, ideally give yourself a little time to rest. Acupuncture has virtually no unpleasant side effects. Any that do occur are mild and self-correcting. Occasionally there may be minor bruising at the needle point or a short-term flare-up of your symptoms. 

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture rarely 'hurts'. You might experience a dull ache around the base of the needle, or a slight tingling feeling when the needle is inserted. Points at the extremities, like toe or finger ends, can sometimes be a little sharp, but the sensation is usually brief.  

What if I am scared of needles?

Acupuncture needles are very much finer than the needles used for injections and blood tests. You may not even feel them enter the skin and once in place they are hardly noticeable.  Acupuncturists are trained to help people with needle phobia, I will do my best to find out exactly what it is about the needles that you find difficult and work with you to help you cope.  If it really is impossible to bear the thought of needles, we can look at using acupressure techniques.    

How many sessions will I need?

This depends on your individual condition and we will discuss your personalised treatment plan on your first visit.  Seeing you once or twice a week at first is common. You may start to feel benefits after the first or second treatment although long-standing and chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. Once your health has stabilised you may need top-up treatments every few weeks. 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.

How does Acupuncture work from a Western medical perspective?

Inserting needles into acupuncture points stimulates various sensory receptors that, in turn, stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system in the brain.  These glands release neurotransmitters and endorphins, resulting in biochemical changes that affect the whole functioning of the body helping the body to achieve 'homeostasis'.

Should I keep taking my medication?

Yes. The acupuncture treatment may enable you to reduce or even stop taking some forms of medication but you should always consult your doctor regarding any change of prescription.

More questions?

Please get in touch with Louise Percival if you have any more questions in general or about a specific condition.  If you have time, have a look at some of these videos produced by the British Acupuncture Council.



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