Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted into the skin at certain points on the body.
Some scientists and acupuncturists believe that acupuncture may stimulate nerves and muscle tissue, and that this may be responsible for any beneficial effects.
Practitioners use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions. It is often used to treat pain conditions such as headache, lower back pain and dental pain, but is also commonly used against conditions ranging from infertility to anxiety and asthma.
Currently, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture as a treatment option for lower back pain, headaches and migraines.
There is evidence that acupuncture works for a number of other conditions, including infertility, morning sickness and post-operative nausea.
Typically, an initial acupuncture appointment will involve an assessment of general health and medical history, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.
Most acupuncture appointments last between 20 and 40 minutes.
Typically, acupuncturists say that patients need between 6 and 12 sessions of acupuncture to get the most from the treatment, but this varies depending on the acupuncturist and the patient.
Assessment and Examination
The acupuncturist will ask you about your general health and your medical history. If your visit is due to a specific health condition, they will ask about the symptoms of this condition and about any other treatment you have received for it.
Once the acupuncturist feels they have a clear picture of your health, they will move to the insertion of the acupuncture needles.
These needles are inserted into specific places on the body, which practitioners call 'acupuncture points'.
During the session, you will usually be asked to sit or lie down. You may also be asked to remove some clothes, so that the acupuncturist can access the relevant places on your body.
The needles used are fine and are usually around 30mm long. They should be single-use, pre-sterilised needles, which are disposed of immediately after use.
Acupuncturists believe that there are over 500 acupuncture points on the body. In a session, typically between 1 and 12 points will be used. The needles may be inserted just under the skin or deeper so that they reach muscle tissue. Once the needles are in place, they may be left in position for up to 30 minutes.
When the needles are inserted, you may feel a tingling or a dull ache. You should not experience any significant pain. If you do, let your acupuncturist know straight away.
Sometimes, patients combine acupuncture with conventional treatments that have been prescribed by a GP or hospital consultant.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines to the NHS on use of treatments and care of patients. Currently, NICE recommends that acupuncture is considered as a treatment option for
Acupuncture is often used to treat musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including:
Acupuncture is also a beneficial and safe treatment for:
Acupuncture £45 per appointment
Many insurance companies will contribute towards the costs of the above treatments - please check with your individual insurance companies, prior to treatment.