Quick facts

  • Suitable for all ages
  • Safe for small babies, pregnant women and the elderly
  • Works alongside medication
  • Effective for a wide range of conditions
  • Fully trained practitioners with high professional standards

Who and what does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is an effective treatment at any stage of life. It is safe for small babies, pregnant women and older people, and can work alongside any medication you may take. Thousands of patients consult acupuncturists in the UK, and find relief from a diverse range of issues every day.

If you’d like more information, there is an ever-increasing body of evidence available. Acupuncture regulatory body The British Acupuncture Council, publishes fact sheets about a wide variety of medical conditions, providing evidence of the effectiveness of acupuncture.

Chinese medicine
uses a theoretical
model to look at
how our bodies
and minds function
in relation to the
changing world
around us. It’s a very
good model.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture originated in China over 2000 years ago and is used worldwide today.

Many people find this ancient art is a practical, safe and drug-free way to keep the body healthy in a complex modern world.

Most people come to us with a specific condition in mind and treatment will focus on healing, improving or managing that condition, depending upon what is possible for you as an individual. However, in the course of treatment, many people find improvement in unexpected areas. This is because, if good health is defined as the body’s ability to maintain equilibrium in the face of life’s challenges, acupuncture treatment is a way of helping the body back into balance and encouraging it to stay there. It does this by regulating the flow of body’s energy. This energy is called ‘qi’ (chi) in Chinese medicine and it drives all biological systems and emotional reactions. By inserting very fine needles into specific points on the body, acupuncture encourages the qi (chi) to re-balance itself and allows illness to heal.

Many people find it beneficial to improve their health more generally or to stay well once their original condition has cleared. Acupuncture is proven safe, can be used alongside conventional medicines and also when medication is not recommended, such as during pregnancy.

What are your professional standards?

Acupuncture is a self-regulated profession. The main regulator for traditional acupuncturists is The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC), whose standards are equal to those recognised by state-registered professions. Only practitioners meeting these high standards of safety and competency are eligible to become members. Proof of training to degree level or equivalent and a commitment to ongoing professional development are required. All BAcC members hold professional indemnity insurance cover and adhere to strict codes of Conduct and Safety.

What happens when I have acupuncture?

During your first visit is it important for us to gain an understanding of your medical condition and your general health and lifestyle. This means we will take time to ask you about your current symptoms and your medical history, but also about such things as your sleeping pattern, your appetite and digestion, and your emotional wellbeing. Women are also asked about their menstrual cycle and any past pregnancies and childbirth.

    "I have felt much
   better both
   physically and
   mentally since
   having treatment
   with Sam."

Jane, Oxford

You might feel that some questions appear unrelated to your condition but the information you give helps us to form a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. We will also take your pulse on both wrists and may examine your tongue and feel for areas of muscular tension or pain.

Based on all the information you have given, we will make a diagnosis and put together your treatment plan, which may include lifestyle and dietary advice as well as acupuncture. We will use very fine single-use pre-sterilised needles to gently stimulate specific acupuncture points on your body. Because energy channels range across the whole body, the points used are not necessarily close to the areas you experience pain or discomfort. For example, if you suffer from headaches, needles might be inserted in your foot or hand.

As well as acupuncture, there are other Chinese medicine techniques:

  • Moxibustion: heat is applied to an acupuncture point or channel using moxa (a therapeutic herb to warm and relax muscles and qi). There are two main methods of moxibustion. The first is indirect moxa: the practitioner lights one end of a moxa stick and holds it a few centimetres away from the skin to produce a pleasantly warm sensation. The second is direct moxa, where the practitioner places a small amount of the herb directly onto an acupuncture point and allows it to smoulder until the patient feels some warmth, then removes it. Most patients enjoy the warming effect of moxa treatment and find it relaxing.
  • Tui Na Chinese therapeutic massage
  • Cupping: glass cups with a vacuum seal are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and clear stagnant qi
  • Guasha: vigorous rubbing of the skin increases blood flow and clears stagnant qi
  • Shonishin: a highly effective and elegant form of Japanese treatment, suitable for babies and children, where needles are usually not used. Treatment comprises of rhythmic massage movements and tapping, with various small tools.

How many treatments will I need?

Your first session will usually take about an hour and a half. After this, follow-up treatments will last one hour. How often you need to come, and for how long, will depend on the nature of your condition and the duration of the symptoms. An average of 4 treatments is usually necessary to see significant change, and most people will choose to continue their treatment to build on the positive results.

Many people continue to have acupuncture to help keep them well once their original condition has become manageable, or cleared. For example, it is common to come for treatment at the change of each season to encourage health throughout the year.

How do I prepare for treatment and how will I feel afterwards?

Before your first session it is useful to bear in mind that many commonly used acupuncture points are located on the lower arms and legs, so it is helpful to wear clothing that allows easy access to these areas. It is also best to ensure that you do not have a completely empty stomach and are not dehydrated.

    "To be pain-free
   after two years
   was amazing, and
   the problem never

Mum of 2, Oxford

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 on the day of treatment.

Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting. Cupping and guasha can sometimes temporarily mark the skin. This is painless and generally clears within a day or two.




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