What is acupuncture?

 

Acupuncture is one of the longest established forms of healthcare in the world. Acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for thousands of years. Treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body to affect the flow of your body’s Qi, or vital energy. Other techniques which may be used include:

 

  • Moxa – a smouldering herb is used to warm the skin

  • Tuina – a form of massage

  • Cupping – a glass or plastic cup is suctioned onto your skin

  • Guasha – a blunt and smooth edge is scraped over your skin

 

Cupping and Guasha may leave red or purple marks on your skin. These marks are not painful and will disappear within 7 days.

 

Is acupuncture safe?

 

Acupuncture practised by a properly trained practitioners is very safe. Serious side effects are very rare – less than 1 in 10,000 treatments.

 

Does acupuncture have side-effects?

 

You need to be aware that:

 

  • Drowsiness occurs after treatment in a small number of patients

  • Minor bleeding or bruising can occur after treatment

  • Pain during treatment is minor and quickly passes

  • Existing symptoms can get worse after treatment (in less than 3% of patients). You should tell your acupuncturist about this at your next treatment, but it is usually a good sign!

  • Fainting can occur in certain patients, tell your acupuncturist if you have a history of fainting or dizziness.

 

Are there any other risks?

 

Acupuncture is a skin piercing technique and like all skin piercing techniques (e.g. body piercing, tattooing) carries a risk of cross infection. In the case of acupuncture, these risks are minimised by:

  • Using single use, sterile, disposable needles

  • The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) lays down strict guidelines with regard to cleanliness and hygiene standards

Is there anything else I need to know about having treatment?

 

To help you get the most from your treatment, the following advice might be useful:

 

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing – this enables your practitioner to access most areas of your body without the need to undress fully

  • Make sure you’ve had a meal at the normal time For example, if your appointment is in the afternoon make sure you have lunch

  • Ensure your acupuncturist knows anything about your medical history which might increase your risk of experiencing side effects. For example, if you have a history of fainting, if you have a pacemaker or if you are taking regular medications of any kind. Your practitioner will then be able to take this into account when planning your treatment.

  • It is normal to feel a little tired after treatment. It is recommended that you keep strenuous activity to a minimum if possible for the 24 hours following treatment and to drink water to keep well hydrated. In fact, most people report a feeling of relaxation and a great night’s sleep after treatment!

 

Contact Information

 

If you have any questions following your acupuncture treatment, if you experience any unusual symptoms or if you are unsure of anything at all, please contact me on 07914 101216 and I’ll be happy to answer your query.

 

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© Zoe Flowers

    BSc (Hons) Ac, Lic Ac, MBAcC