Frequently Asked Questions
What does acupuncture feel like? Does it hurt?
When the acupuncturist places your needles it is common to feel a little pinch, mild sting or dull achy sensation. It should not be painful. Some people are more sensitive than others, so we adjust our technique and the gauge of needles according to each person’s response. We’ve needled many nervous first-timers and their responses are most commonly “that’s it? I barely felt anything!”.
How many sessions will I need?
That depends on your individual condition. At first your acupuncturist will normally ask to see you once or twice a week. 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 preventative healthcare and many people like to go for a 'retuning' session at the change of each season throughout the year.
How should I prepare for an acupuncture treatment?
Try not to have a large meal within an hour of your appointment as the process of digestion will alter the pattern of your pulse, and you may need to lie on your stomach. You should also avoid alcohol and food or drink that colours your tongue such as coffee or strong tea. It is a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothes so that the acupuncture points, especially those on your lower limbs, are easily accessible.
And after the treatment?
You are likely to feel relaxed and calm. If the treatment has been particularly strong you may feel tired or drowsy and it is worth bearing this in mind if you plan to drive or use any other machinery soon afterwards.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy and can help relieve many pregnancy and postpartum conditions. Because there are some acupuncture points that are contraindicated during pregnancy it is important to inform the practitioner if you are pregnant. We highly recommend acupuncture during through your first trimester to help assist embryo development, prevent miscarriage, and address any other symptoms that may arise.
Are there any side effects?
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 as your qi clears and resettles. If you suffer from fainting or low blood pressure it is worth discussing this prior to treatment so we can work together to reduce any chances for feeling light headed (for instance not having treatment on an empty stomach).
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, acupuncture is safe; all the needles are sterile, single use and disposed of carefully. The Hadland Clinic works to the standards set by the British Acupuncture Council.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work? Is it just a placebo effect?
Acupuncture works on animals, and animals don’t have beliefs about acupuncture (yes, veterinary acupuncture exists – and is common for dogs and horses in particular!).
Will my private health insurance cover acupuncture?
That depends upon your insurer. As the demand for complementary medicine increases more private health insurance companies are beginning to offer cover for traditional acupuncture. You should check your individual policy details.
Can children have acupuncture?
Yes, children can have acupuncture but all minors under the age of 16 must have the permission of a parent or guardian before a treatment.
Why do you check my pulse?
The pulses are taken on three positions on the wrists. We feel the character, strength and quality of the pulses and compare the two sides of the body. This provides us with information on what is out of balance and feeds us information on how a treatment is progressing.
Why do you look at the tongue?
The tongue reflects the health of your body on the inside and any changes in the shape, colour or coating gives information about your health.