Below you will find some of the more commonly asked questions about Acupuncture treatment
Can't find the answer to your question? Feel free to ask!
How does Acupuncture work?
Traditional Acupuncture works by stimulating a system of channels which connect all of the internal organs. We use tiny needles to affect the most external version of the channel, which is just below the surface of the skin.
Current research shows that the neurology of the body is run by bioelectricity (or electrical impulses) and is regulated by electrical currents. This electricity is traditionally referred to as Qi in Chinese medicine. The channels used in traditional acupuncture directly follow pathways of less impedance along the fascial channels of the body. At certain points along these pathways (traditionally known as 'acupuncture points') we can stimulate the electrical impulses more easily, causing a remote effect on an internal function. Put more simply, this is like a train line with various stations along it. The stations are where your acupuncture points are, and where we can affect the train's onward journey. Some points are more significant than others and have more of an effect on the body (think Clapham Junction!) while others are smaller but still important to those commuters who use them.
What does stimulating these acupuncture points actually do to the body? By stimulating the impulses on the fascial channels, acupuncture causes the body to release natural painkillers (endogenous opiate release) and to down regulate pain signals. Stimulation by acupuncture also relaxes the nervous system (down modulation of sympathetic up regulation), calming the 'fight or flight' response which allows for improved circulation, healing and hormone balance.
Increasingly modern research is able to prove the effectiveness of this ancient medicine in the scientific terms that we in the West can better understand. For more details about the evidence for acupuncture, please visit About Treatment
Is Acupuncture right for me?
Some people come for acupuncture because they have specific conditions or injuries, and others come simply because they feel tired or unwell. Other people come to maintain their good health or for a seasonal pick-me-up. Acupuncture is suitable for people of all ages including children and pregnant women. Acupuncture can be used alongside conventional medicine, including blood thinners.
For more information about how acupuncture can help you, please visit About Treatment.
What happens during my first visit?
At your initial consultation a full medical history will be taken during which you will be asked questions about your symptoms, your medical history, your diet and lifestyle, daily functions such as digestion and sleep, and questions about your mood and energy levels. I will also look at your tongue and take your pulses on both wrists to complete a full and accurate diagnosis. Acupuncture points will be chosen according to your symptoms and may be located on many different parts of the body.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments vary from person to person. Some people experience immediate relief, others may take a little longer to achieve results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. I will usually see you once a week for the first few treatments and then space treatment out to fortnightly or monthly depending on your individual response to treatment. We will discuss frequency of treatment as your symptoms alleviate.
How should I prepare?
Wearing loose comfortable clothing allows easy access to acupuncture points, although there are facilities to change into a gown if needed. It is best to have a small snack before treatment rather than a large meal. It is also best to avoid strong caffeine before treatment. After treatment try to make time to relax and rest. Alcohol and heavy exercise are best avoided on the same day as acupuncture treatment.
Does Acupuncture hurt?
This is the question I get asked more than any other! The short answer is no. I treat people of all ages, including teenagers who certainly wouldn't keep coming back if I was hurting them!
The sensation caused by an acupuncture needle varies from a slight ache to a mild tingling. The needles are tiny, just a little larger than a human hair, and certainly nothing like the hollow hypodermic needles that we associate with blood tests. Patients are usually surprised by how painless the experience is.
What conditions can Acupuncture treat?
The British Acupuncture Council have produced factsheets summarising the research into acupuncture for treating numerous conditions, which can be found here.
Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is safe when carried out by a qualified practitioner. Reactions to treatment are unusual and are mild when they do occur. These mild reactions can include tiredness or mild dizziness and occasionally minor bruising can occur at the site where the needle is inserted. All reactions are short lived. The needles are single-use, sterile needles and as such present no threat of contamination.
Acupuncture has been subjected to intensive scientific evaluation in over 8,000 clinical trials, and has demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of many diseases in modern Western societies. There has also been extensive research into the safety of acupuncture which can be found here.
I have a BSc(Hons) degree in Acupuncture and am a member of the British Acupuncture Council. As such I abide by the Council's Code of Safe Practice and Code of Professional Conduct, comply with the current Health and Safety Legislation and am covered by full Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance.
Jo Phillips Acupuncture is now a certified Covid-19 Secure clinic. Read more about my Covid-19 Clinic Protocol here