Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments on offer in the UK. All BAcC members have completed a first-degree level training or equivalent in traditional acupuncture including substantial elements of Western anatomy, physiology and pathology.
BAcC practitioners use only pre-sterilised, single-use needles which are safely disposed of after treatment. All treatments are carried out in accordance with exemplary professional standards developed by the British Acupuncture Council and detailed in the BAcC Codes of Safe Practice and Professional Conduct. Treatment rooms and equipment must conform to standards laid down in the BAcC Code of Safe Practice and have also been approved by local authority environmental health officers.
BAcC members have full medical malpractice and public/product liability insurance cover. BAcC practitioners record all relevant details of a patient’s health condition and medical history before treatment commences. Occasionally, based upon this information, he or she may refer a patient to their GP for further investigation or medical treatment.
What should I expect?
Before your first acupuncture treatment, there are several things you should bear in mind: try not to come for treatment on an empty stomach or straight after a heavy meal. Do let the practitioner know if you are completely new to acupuncture so extra time can be made to explain what happens and to ensure that you are comfortable with the process.
Initial visits last for one or two hours. It is during this visit that a comprehensive case history is taken. Subsequent visits are about 45 minutes to an hour. Most people find acupuncture relaxing and often feel calm during and after treatment. They may feel tired and this should be taken into account when driving or using heavy machinery afterwards. It is best to refrain from vigorous activity or alcohol for several hours after treatment. Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self correcting.
How many treatments will I need?
Each person is unique and therefore the number of treatments required depends on the individual condition being treated. Generally, treatment is once a week to start with, more frequently if the condition is acute.
As you improve, you will need to come less often. You may start to feel benefits after the first or second treatment, although long-standing and chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. The aim of treatment is to encourage your body to maintain its own internal balance without continual treatment, so once your health has stabilised, you may need top-up treatments every few weeks. Some patients also choose to have regular treatment as a preventative method, to maintain good health.
Which conditions can acupuncture treat?
There is much debate among researchers about which conditions acupuncture is most effective at treating. Good acupuncture studies are very difficult to design using the standard Western models, not least because of the fundamental differences between Western and Chinese diagnosis and the fact that, by its very nature, every treatment plan in Chinese medicine is unique to the individual patient. The most comprehensive research and information about the efficacy of acupuncture is to be found on the British Acupuncture Council website which you can get to by following the link.
If you wish to discuss a specific condition, or find out more about whether acupuncture is suitable for you, please contact Sharon Ashton by visiting the contact page.