These are the typical questions that we get asked by people who are interested in coming along for an acupuncture treatment for the first time:

What conditions can you treat and what research exists?

It is a peculiarity of the UK that the Advertising Standards Authority restricts Traditional Acupuncturists from saying how effective acupuncture treatments can be for their patients despite the existence of considerable research and the increasing use of acupuncture throughout the NHS and by other healthcare professionals. However, we are allowed to invite you to look at 2 web sites, in particular, where there is extensive research supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture for a wide range of conditions:

  • The World Health Organisation
  • The British Acupuncture Council

The latter site has a number of useful fact sheets for conditions such as: pain, stress, anxiety, tiredness and insomnia, or if you want to stop smoking or lose weight, which are exceedingly common and well suited for treatment in your Acorn Community Acupuncture clinic.
How long will it take?

The one thing that should immediately strike you when you enter the clinic is how peaceful everything is. That is because we work on the principle that you pretty much determine how long your treatment is going to be.
From an acupuncturist’s perspective, we would like the needles to be in for at least 20 minutes for the effectiveness to be achieved. However, if you are having just ear acupuncture then we would like you to remain calm for about 40 minutes for the most effective results.
If you are on a couch, then try to go to sleep - that helps make the needles more effective. You will awaken when you are ready.
What do I wear?

You should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes that can easily be adjusted so that your acupuncturist can gain access to your arms up to your elbows and your legs up to your knees. Tee shirts and yoga pants are ideal clothing for an acupuncture treatment.
How does it work?

This can be answered with a very long explanation - or a shorter one. For the purposes of this web site let's go with the shorter explanation!
Your acupuncturist may talk to you about your body being 'in balance' when you are healthy, and getting out of balance when you are unwell. When your energy (Qi - pronounced 'chee') flows freely around your body then you will be 'in balance' and healthy. You are probably seeking an acupuncture treatment because for some reason you have got out of 'balance'.

The acupuncture needles are used to help get your Qi flowing smoothly again and get you back into balance.
The most important message to take away from this question is that one acupuncture session is seldom sufficient to heal you. As with many other treatment therapies and medication, healing with acupuncture takes time and is often described as a process.
How will I feel afterwards?

To some extent, this question does depend upon why you have come for an acupuncture treatment. Most people say that they feel relaxed and energised after a treatment. If they have come for help with a pain problem then the pain may be reduced or have gone away during the treatment (an obviously desirable situation) or it may feel better over the next few days. The important thing for all patients is to become more aware of how they feel inside themselves and relate any changes to the effectiveness of their acupuncture treatment.
Do I have to take my clothes off?

No! As we described above, we will ask you to roll up your sleeves and trousers legs so that we can get to those parts of the body, and we may ask if we can needle some points on your tummy for particular conditions. But generally speaking your acupuncturist will be using acupuncture point locations on the arms below your elbows, on the legs below your knees, on your head and face, and in your ears. Points in these parts of the body have the capability of treating most conditions without the need to use more intimate points on the body, such as the chest and back.
Will I be sitting down or lying on a couch?

Generally, you will be treated laying on a recliner chair or a couch unless you have a particular preference for sitting upright in a chair. However, if you are just receiving ear acupuncture then you may find that you are treated whilst sitting upright in a chair.
Does it hurt?

Acupuncture does not normally hurt. You should not feel the needles being inserted, although the ear points can be a bit sensitive. Once the needles are inserted the practitioner wants to make sure that the needles are working and you should feel a tingling or tugging sensation when that has been achieved.
If at any stage a needle does start to hurt, then ask your practitioner to adjust or remove the needle.
What about my privacy and confidentiality?

Your privacy and confidentiality are very important to us, and we place a very high priority on making you feel safe and secure. We can treat you without you having to remove items of clothing and this significantly helps in this area. Likewise, we conduct all conversations in hushed tones, which ensure that you cannot be overheard by other patients. We have gentle background music that helps to occupy the space in the room, creating a calm environment and reducing the ability to overhear conversations.If you do need to discuss a topic in greater detail, then we will arrange for that to be conducted separately and it may involve a telephone conversation.
Are there any restrictions on who can be treated?

A community acupuncture clinic is not an appropriate setting to treat children and young persons, so we limit the minimum age to 17 years and older.
A community acupuncture clinic is also not the right setting to treat patients where there are communication difficulties, such as those with learning difficulties and non-English speakers. We should also highlight that there may be some cultural constraints for those that may feel uncomfortable being treated alongside other patients, especially where arms and legs, and on the rare occasion possibly the lower abdomen, would need to be uncovered for treatment.
Can I eat before a treatment?

If you have just eaten a heavy meal, then your energy will be involved in the process of digestion and not able to heal you as well. Ideally you should eat a moderate meal some 60 minutes before receiving acupuncture. It is also important for you to eat at a reasonable time after receiving a treatment. Continuing activity with no nourishment after strong acupuncture stimulation can result in extreme fatigue.
If this is a community facility, how can I help?

From time-to-time people come forward with offers to help. As we grow the Acorn Community Acupuncture clinic, we would welcome any such offers and will discuss how best we can involve more of the community in the running of your own clinic.

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