Acupuncture FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture

Below are frequently asked questions (FAQ) about acupuncture. If you would like further explanation or information please get in touch. I am happy to answer questions by phone, email or in a free 15 minute consultation.

What is Pulse diagnosis answer for  FAQ  Acupuncture

BEFORE Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a holistic treatment that brings a person’s energies back into balance. Typically this involves insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body, scalp and ear. These points can also be stimulated with other methods such as Acupressure Massage, Moxibustion, Cupping & Gua Sha and Medical Qigong. Acupuncture allows the person’s energy, called Qi (pronounced Chee), to flow at an optimum level around the body in energy pathways called channels. There are over 360 acu-points on the body but only around 150 of these are used frequently. Needles are commonly placed in a different area from the complaint e.g. for headaches and migraines needles may go in the hands and feet.
Where did Acupuncture originate?
Records confirm Acupuncture has been practised in China since at least 200BC. The more recent system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was developed in the 1950’s incorporate these ancient Acupuncture teachings. Acupuncture was popularised in the West in the early 1970’s after President Nixon’s visit to China.
How does Acupuncture work?
Qi is the life-force energy which flows through channels in the body, keeping us healthy when it is flowing freely and strongly. However, when Qi flow is disrupted as a result of physical trauma, emotional upset, poor diet, weather conditions, or other factors; then illness results. Stimulating specific points on the body ‘unblocks’ Qi and allows the body to return to a balanced state.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is a very safe treatment. The needles used are sterile, single-use, disposable needles. I am fully qualified and spent years learning where is safe to needle and where must be avoided. I continue to train to keep my skills current. My qualifications, license and insurance are all displayed in my clinic. I am a member of the British Medical Acupuncture Society.

It is important to tell me about any health conditions, other treatments you are having or medications you are taking to ensure there are no contra-indications with Acupuncture treatment.
What is important before Acupuncture treatment?
It is recommended to have something to eat about an hour or so before treatment as some people may feel light headed during or after Acupuncture. You will be given water to and advised to drink some more after treatment.
What should I wear for treatment?
Where possible, it is advisable to wear loose, comfortable clothing. This allows access to Acupuncture points without removing clothes. Some people take shorts to change into. I advise people not to wear tights. When access to particular acu-points is necessary, some items of clothes may need to be removed. Towels are always provided to prevent exposure and preserve modesty.
Can I bring my partner or relative with me?
Of course. If you would like somebody with you during the consultation or treatment, they can sit in with you. If you are under 18 years old, it is a licensing requirement of Highland Council that a parent / legal guardian is always present for the duration of the Acupuncture session.
Can I have Acupuncture if I am pregnant?
Yes. Acupuncture is particularly useful to support pregnancy as it does not involve taking medication or drugs. It can be used to help treat symptoms of common pregnancy ailments such as morning sickness and nausea, and physical aches and pains, e.g. sciatica. It is important you tell me if you are trying to conceive or are pregnant; I am trained to know which acupuncture points to avoid during pregnancy.
Can I come off my medication?
If you want to reduce or stop your medication, this needs to be discussed with your GP. I tell patients to tell your doctor you are receiving Acupuncture treatment.

DURING Acupuncture

What happens during an Acupuncture treatment?
During a treatment, you will be asked about your health. Everything you say is confidential. You will also be asked to show your tongue, and I will feel your pulse on both wrists. This may take a little while. The information gathered helps me understand the disharmonies in your body, and the findings indicate the best places to insert needles or whether to apply heat to particular areas. It is also quite normal for me to palpate or examine a specific area of the body depending on your presenting condition.
Why do you look at my tongue?
During each consultation I ask to see your tongue. I am looking at different aspects such as the colour, coat, shape and features such as marks, dots, cracks and moisture.

Tongue diagnosis provides me with information about which Patterns of Disharmony are present and your overall Acupuncture diagnosis. In summary, it helps me know the most effective way to treat you.
Why do you feel my pulse?
Every time I see you I will spend time feeling your pulse on each wrist. This provides information on Qi, Blood & Internal Organ energy. I mainly look at 3 pulse positions at 3 pulse depths.

Pulse diagnosis provides me with information about which Patterns of Disharmony are present and your overall Acupuncture diagnosis. In summary, it helps me know the most effective way to treat you.
What questions will I be asked?
During the initial consultation, time is spent asking questions about your presenting condition and your general health. The initial consultation takes longer than follow-up appointments. Some of these questions may appear unrelated to your condition, but all the information is gathered together and helps form an Acupuncture diagnosis called a Pattern of Disharmony. This allows me to better understand your condition, current health and the best way to treat you. Some straightforward health complaints require a less in-depth consultation.

Acupuncture appointments are conducted in a quiet, professional city centre location. You experience peaceful, relaxed treatments which last approximately 1 hour. Your initial treatment lasts up to 1½ hours and includes the first consultation.
What is a Pattern of Disharmony?
In Acupuncture various signs and symptoms are grouped together to form a Pattern of Disharmony. Tongue diagnosis and pulse diagnosis also help build a picture of the imbalances present. These imbalances, interactions of organ systems and your environment can create illness. I spend time understanding your health different ways:
  • The 8 Principles (4 pairs of opposites: Yin and Yang, Hot and Cold, Full and Empty (or Deficiency and Excess) & Interior and Exterior)
  • The 5 Fundamental substances: Qi, (Energy) Shen (Spirit), Jing (Essence), Blood, and Jin Ye (Body fluids)
Treating this way allows me to provide individualised Acupuncture treatment that brings your body back into balance.
Are Acupuncture needles painful?
I use ultra-fine needles (some as fine as a hair) that are nothing like needles used by doctors or the dentist. A brief sting sensation may be followed by a dull ache or feelings of heaviness but very often no pain is felt at all. Patients often describe the sensation as warm and tingling or a rush of energy. Most people feel relaxed and some fall asleep during the treatment. The needles are sometimes removed immediately, but are usually left in place for 20 – 30 minutes.
Where do Acupuncture needles go?
This very much depends upon your presenting condition. Acu-points are located all over the body and often needles are inserted into different areas than where you experience pain, discomfort, inflammation etc. You do not scar from the needles; very occasionally a small bruise may appear which disappears after a day or so. The majority of points used in clinic are Shu-points (found below your elbow and knee). I also often use points on the face, scalp, ears and sometimes on the thigh. Towels are always provided to cover you and preserve your modesty.
How many needles do you use?
The number of needles varies from treatment to treatment. This is based on the presenting condition, agreed treatment principles and your current health. I always use the least amount of Acupuncture needles to create the most positive change to your health. For the majority of treatments this is between 6 and 12 needles.
I don't like needles. Can anything else be used?
I principally use Acupuncture needles to manipulate your Qi / energy. I also incorporate the following into my Acupuncture treatment:
  • Moxibustion
  • Acu-pressure
  • Cupping
  • Gua-Sha
  • Infra-red Heat Lamp
  • Medical Qigong
  • Chinese Dietary Advice
I will advise you on the most effective treatment options for your condition. Many of the above can be used as stand alone treatments when working with needle phobic patients and young children.

AFTER Acupuncture

What happens after Acupuncture treatment?
The majority of people feel relaxed and calm. Some people report feeling slightly tired or drowsy after Acupuncture and it is recommended to rest. Strenuous exercise, alcohol and driving long distances should be avoided after treatment. Any slight bruising is short lived.
Will Acupuncture make me better straight away?
Acupuncture is a natural health treatment that works to rebalance your body’s energy. This may take a number of sessions and depends on your current state of health and the condition being treated. People may feel positive effects immediately, or within a day or two after treatment, but again this is very individual and depends on your presenting condition.
Will Acupuncture treatment make me worse?
For the vast majority of people Acupuncture has a positive effect. Occasionally, with certain conditions, symptoms might initially appear more extreme or exaggerated; this is often a sign of the energy moving in the body and is the beginning of a healing process. However, this passes and most people report feeling better than before Acupuncture treatment.
Can I have any other treatments while having Acupuncture?
Almost all treatments are completely fine to have in conjunction with Acupuncture. I may recommend spacing out different treatments with Acupuncture treatment. This depends on an individual’s energy levels. Certain medications may mean that Acupuncture is not suitable; this will be fully discussed with you during your appointment.
How many Acupuncture treatments will I need?
Your personal treatment plan is discussed during the initial consultation and throughout our contact. The number of sessions required varies depending on particular conditions, how long you have experienced them, and your overall state of health before treatment.

During your initial consultation I can advise on the frequency and number of treatments that may be required. Typically for many conditions a course of 6 sessions is recommended. This is usually 2 sessions per week for 3 weeks, or 1 session per week for 6 weeks.

During this time we will discuss your progress and response to treatment and decide how best to proceed. Patients stop Acupuncture when no more treatment is necessary, however many choose to have maintenance sessions.

For patients with more straightforward, minor ailments fewer sessions are required.

Lifestyle and dietary advice may also be given to support Acupuncture treatment and help consolidate lasting change.
Book an Appointment