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Frequently Asked Questions
about Acupuncture

Why Does Acupuncture Work?

Western science suggests there are three main mechanisms for acupuncture’s effects:

  1. Activation of opioid systems: Research has found that several types of opioids may be released into the central nervous system during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain.
  2. Changes in brain chemistry, sensation, and involuntary body functions: Studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Acupuncture also has been documented to affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes whereby a person’s blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature are regulated.
  3. Changes in blood flow: Acupuncture alters the circulation of blood to the affected area, resulting in the removal of pain-causing chemicals and restoring normal function to the area being treated.

What Happens When I Go for a Treatment?

Different diagnostic methods are used to acquire a full picture of your health. A full medical history is taken, and the evaluation may include tongue analysis and pulse diagnosis. A personal treatment plan is then put together, and acupuncture points are selected according to your diagnosis.

You will receive a brief introduction about what Acupuncture will entail and go through any concerns you may have about the process. The selected acupuncture points are then stimulated with very fine needles that are much thinner than an injection needle. The needles are left in for seconds to 20 minutes while sitting or lying down. This period of time can effect a deep sense of relaxation.

How Long Does It Take, and How Many Sessions Will I Need?

The first treatment may take up to one and half hours, which will include both the case history and treatment. Subsequent treatments will then take up to 30 minutes. The actual number of sessions required is determined by the severity of the condition.

The needles used are both sterile and disposable (single use). Once inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling sensation or dull ache.

What Can I Expect at the First Visit?

Your digital forms (paper on request) should be filled out in advance of your first will last at most an hour and a half. A complete case history is reviewed during which you will be asked questions about your symptoms and various aspects of your health and lifestyle. You will also be asked to describe your current condition and symptoms, your medical history and current medication, family medical history to assess hereditary weaknesses, your diet, emotional state, sleep patterns and if female details of menstrual cycle. Case-dependent, your first visit may span 60 to 90 minutes.

You will also have plenty of time to relay any concerns you have.

Your tongue and pulse may be examined to get a different picture of your particular pattern of imbalances and to assist the diagnosis. Once the likely causes of your condition have been determined, the most appropriate acupuncture points will be selected. The acupuncture needles usually stay in place for seconds to twenty minutes after insertion.

What Does It Feel Like?

The needles are very fine, some hardly more than a hair’s width. You will feel very little as the needles are inserted. Once the body’s Qi has been reached you will feel a tingling, numbness, spreading or dull and achy sensation. Many people report a tingling feeling going around the body. Needling may take place on arms, legs, hands, feet, abdomen, torso, back or head; therefore, it is advisable to wear loose clothing although in some instances clothing may need removing. Usually, 6-12 points will be used in each treatment.

What Will I Feel Like Afterwards?

Most people feel very relaxed during the treatment and afterwards and often have a feeling of increased energy and wellbeing. Supportive dietary or lifestyle advice may be provided recommending whole foods or the supplements that would best help the condition. For example, advice can be given on specific types of exercise to help ease pain relief. Where warranted, Bluesky Connexions (the educational hub) classes and courses will be recommended.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

Each person is different, and the number of treatments will depend on the severity and duration of the problem. The appropriate course of treatment will be recommended. Your progress will be tracked and discussed with you to meet your particular needs. A course of treatment may span from two or three treatments to a series of sessions over several months. The time period will be dependent upon the condition and is discussed during the first session.

We will review your notes and progress at each session and fully at six sessions to ensure your needs are being met, progress is being made and to ensure that the treatment is suitable. Further information and progress status will be available through your practice member portal.

All consultations are confidential and tailored to meet your specific needs.

Is it Safe?

The British Acupuncture Council Code of Safe Practice which lays down strict standards of hygiene and safety are followed. Pre-sterilised disposable needles are used and disposed of immediately.

Surveys show that acupuncture is a very safe treatment, and adverse effects are rarely reported. These are usually minor (mild bruising, dizziness or nausea lasting a short time)

If you are receiving active medical treatment, tell your General Practitioner that you are having acupuncture. Acupuncture may enable you to modify some of your medications, but you need to do this in consultation with your GP.

Irrefutable Health | Acupuncture Kingston | (020) 8945 3701