Frequently Asked Questions
Does acupuncture work?
There are 8000 published clinical trials and over 60 conditions listed on the BAcC Reseach Fact Sheets here
More information on the evidence base for acupuncture can be found here
In my experience and that of my teachers and mentors there is a tremendous amount of anecdotal and clinical evidence that acupuncture is effective in helping people achieve equilibrium and an enhanced quality of life.
How does acupuncture work?
Practitioners are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been refined over 1000s of years to focus on treating the individual rather than a collection of symptoms. Treatment involves insertion of needles into specific points to stimulate the body's own innate healing response to restore balance of body and mind. From our perspective we are working to improve the movement and quality of Qi and fluids (including Blood) within a person in order to reduce deficiency, congestion, stagnation and inflammation. I prefer not to try and explain Chinese Medicine in Western Medical terminology as they are completely different systems. (I would not expect a Western Doctor to be able to explain their medicine in Chinese terms).
However, one of the ways in which western minds understand acupuncture is that it triggers a cascade of biochemical reactions that causes change within the central nervous system including the release of endorphins and chemicals that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Acupuncture points are often situated around aggregations of connective tissue that have high electrical potential. It has also been recognized that there is a high density of mast cells (immune cells) around acupuncture points. More information is listed here in "How does acupuncture work?" section.
I am scared of needles, how big are they?
Most fear of needles seems to stem from childhood experiences of much larger hollow syringes used to inject substances into our body. Acupuncture needles range from 0.12mm to 0.30mm gauge with 0.20mm being the gauge I use most frequently. The picture shows a medical syringe to be 2.9mm in gauge which is approximately ten times larger than the average acupuncture needle.
I use single use, sterile and disposable needles. I strictly adhere to the BAcC Code of Conduct. BAcC Professional Codes can be read here
Does it hurt?
Sometimes when the Qi of the body grasps the acupuncture needle a slightly dull, achy or mild electrical sensation may be felt for a few seconds. Acupuncturists from different systems place varying degrees of importance on the patient feeling this but it should not be painful.
If there is a blockage in the channel you may feel a sensation for a few moments. If an area has been starved of adequate Qi and Blood supply for some time it may temporarily feel uncomfortable as the Qi and Blood begin to flow more freely. Many people are surprised at how relaxing and pain free acupuncture is most of the time!
How much does it cost?
My charges are £55 for initial consultations and £37 for follow-ups. Please discuss with me at the time of booking if you are on a very low income. I am able to make concessions for those who are struggling financially.
How long does each treatment last?
First consultation including a treatment- up to 2 hours
Follow-ups - 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
What happens in a session?
During our first meeting I will take an in-depth case history. Please bring the names of any medication you are on and wear loose clothing if possible. It is best not come on an empty stomach. After our chat I will read your pulses and tongue and may use palpation and other examinations depending on your complaint/s. Treatment will then involve a combination of retained needles, cupping, moxibustion, guasha and/or electro acupuncture depending on the patient. My approach to treatment is very hands on and the "adjunct" practices of guasha, moxibustion and cupping are central to my practice.
How many treatments will I need?
This will depend on you and your symptoms. Everyone is unique and responds to treatment differently. In some cases of chronic illness treatment may take longer and this will also be influenced by other factors such as frequency of treatment.
Generally I recommend booking in for 3 or 4 weekly consecutive treatments as this will enable me to understand how you respond and to resolve any uncertainties in my diagnosis. In the same way that a GP may send you for further investigations over weeks or months to inform their diagnosis and subsequent treatment, I will monitor carefully how you respond to each treatment to enable a better understanding of how to treat you. In the longer term, patients come for weekly, fortnightly, monthly or seasonal maintenance treatments.
We will work together at all stages of treatment and regularly revise your treatment plan to best suit your needs. If at any point I feel that the treatment is not working for you, or that I do not have the specific skills to assist you, I will not hesitate in discussing this with you and may refer you to another practitioner with a skill set that may be more beneficial to you.