Acupuncture is a type of complementary and alternative therapy which originates from ancient Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is a safe practice when performed by a qualified practitioner. Fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body, commonly referred to as acupuncture points, for therapeutic or preventive purposes. For more information about acupuncture please see the information leaflet.
The most common methods used to stimulate acupuncture needles are heat or electrical stimulation (to further enhance the effects). Other stimulation techniques include moxibustion or heat therapy, cupping, and the application of topical herbal medicines and liniments.
What happens during an acupuncture treatment?
Initially the acupuncturist will discuss your health history, followed by examining your tongue’s shape, colour, and coating, feeling your pulse, and depending on your complaint, possibly perform some additional physical examinations. Using these unique assessment methods, the acupuncturist will conclude a diagnosis and recommend a proper treatment plan. To begin the acupuncture treatment, you lay comfortably on a treatment table while precise acupoints are stimulated on various areas of your body. Most people feel no or minimal discomfort as the fine needles are gently placed. The needles are usually retained for 20 to 30 minutes. Frequently, during and after treatments, people report that they feel very relaxed.
There is a body of research focused on evaluating the benefits of acupuncture and evidence shows that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others) to nausea, migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility. For more information please see this link to the British Acupuncture Council: https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions.html
The risks of acupuncture are low if carried out by a fully qualified practitioner of traditional acupuncture. Any minor side effects that do occur, like dizziness, minor bleeding or bruising around needle points, are mild and self-correcting. Single-use, sterile and disposable needles are now the practice standard, therefore the risk of infection is minimal.