Frequently Asked Questions

Traditional acupuncture is a system of medicine/healthcare which is based on ancient principles dating back 2000 years. over the past couple of millenia medical scholars have contributed to the refinement and development of the art of acupuncture.

Tradtiional acupuncture sees illness and pain as indications that a person is out of balance. The aim the acupuncturist is to restore the person’s equilibrium by inserting fine needles and rebalancing their vital energy, or Qi.

Traditional integrated acupuncture uses two systems, namely TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine, with its Yin Yang, 8-principle approach) and 5-Element. Whilst these two systems are similar in many respects, there are also some significant differences. 5-Element looks at more chronic conditions with emphasis on a person’s constitution. TCM emphasises both acute and chronic conditions and is particularly for musco-skeletal disorders.

What is clear is that many people are finding traditional integrated acupuncture extremely effective nowadays due to its perception that peoples’ physical, emotional and mental state are all connected, indeed interdependent and that to regain true health a holistic approach is needed.

“Illnesses may be identical, but the persons suffering from them may be different”.

(Unschuld, 1990, p17)

A treatment consists of an initial diagnosis, what is known as a ‘TD’ or Traditional Diagnosis, lasting for 1hr to 1hr 15mins, and a course of subsequent treatments lasting 40 mins each. In the ‘TD’ a detailed case history is taken of the patient’s condition and general health (energy levels, sleep patterns etc) as well as their lifestyle. The point of this is for me to build up an energetic diagnosis unique to each patient. To further help me with this I also take a detailed diagnosis of the patient’s pulses (taken at the wrist) and tongue. Having done this, fine needles are then inserted into certain acupuncture points in order to correct the patient’s Qi, or put another way, stimulating the patient’s healing response.

Because I have been well-trained in the art of needling, and because they are so fine, the needles do not hurt, a slight ache being the usual sensation as the acupuncture point is reached.

However some clients, especially children still don’t like the idea of needles, fortunately there are alternative techniques for stimulating acu-points, without using needles. One of these is called “cupping”.

In order to stimulate the patient’s Qi further, and for treating musco-skeletal disorders, I often burn ‘moxa’ on the end of the needle. Moxa is a type of mugwort (the smoke coming from it has been tested and declared safe) grown in the hills in China and Japan. This practice is entirely safe for the patient and is indeed extremely pleasant with a deep warming sensation being felt.

The amount of needles used during one treatment is small (4-6) being most common.Because of this, and due to the fact that the most commonly used points are below the knees and wrists, the patient usually only removes their shoes and socks and their watch if necessary due to the pulses being taken at the wrist. Of course their will be times when the removal of an item of clothing is necessary, and due discretion is shown with the use of towels or a gown.

The initial diagnosis is £45, with subsequent treatments costing £40. Of course the overall cost to regain health will depend on the amount of treatments needed, which is discussed in Q7. As an average, someone coming to see me can usually expect 6 treatments over a 5-6 week period. I am aware that this is quite a financial commitment, but I feel that it is money well spent. Patients may find that they are a member of a health scheme which may pay something toward treatment if their GP is in agreement.

If the course of treatment is proving to be too much, I am prepared to do various concessions so that a patient may continue.

The amount of treatments needed will vary according to the nature of the patient’s condition. In Q6 I said the average amount of times would be 6 treatments roughly on a weekly basis. This can vary: for example, if someone came to me with acute sciatica which they had presented just recently, I would expect to see them no more than 3 times, though I would probably have the treatments closer together. I f someone else presented with migraine, with accompanying depression and fatigue which they had suffered from for many years, we could well be looking at 10-12 treatments on a weekly basis. Once a patient’s health has improved treatment often stops whereas in other cases the patient will still come for treatment but less regularly, say once a month.

Acupuncture is a very safe form of treatment. Unpleasant side-effects are extremely rare and in my 13 years of practice I have not encountered any bad reactions to my treatments. Patients commonly report a deep feeling of relaxation during and after treatment. All needles that I use are of the highest quality (Vinco if you want to check). They are all fully sterilised and are single use only.

It is perfectly safe to have acupuncture during pregnancy; indeed many of my patients come precisely because they are pregnant and find the acupuncture is of great benefit at this time helping things like morning sickness and fatigue. Additionally, many patients come to prepare them for the birth since acupuncture is used as a natural way to induce.

Children are perfectly ok to have acupuncture. They respond very well since their have vital Qi. Children seem to be fine with the needles because they sense that the needling is gentle- not a ‘jab’- and that the body receives it.

It is not necessary to inform you doctor you are having treatment, but it is a good idea. Most GPs nowadays are aware of the benefits of acupuncture and will be pleased their patients are being pro-active about their own health. Patients coming for acupuncture often want to re-evaluate their medication levels and since this is something you must discuss with your GP it makes sense to let them know you are undertaking a course of acupuncture.

Please refer to the section on spirit.

There is a charge of 50% if a patient leaves less than 24 hours’notice, and 100% if less than 6 hours or if they do not turn up for their appointment. This is done so that there is a chance for me to fill the slot which another patient may have wanted.