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Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture

Why acupuncture treatment?

There are many very good reasons why one should seriously consider turning to acupuncture for help. Here are just a few of the more important ones:

  • As a form of medicine acupuncture is completely safe, well tried-and-tested and highly effective.
  • Acupuncture offers a holistic approach that regulates the bodys energy and, where necessary, brings it back into balance.
  • Acupuncture treats not only symptoms but also the root cause of any illness.
  • Acupuncture can treat conditions that Western medicine is unable to diagnose successfully.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to which acupuncture is central has been practised for over 4000 years. It thus represents a highly sophisticated system of medical practice based on careful observation and a vast history of therapeutic work.
  • Acupuncture offers a realistic alternative to those not wishing to take prescription drugs whether for personal or medical reasons.
  • Based, as it is, on a unique perspective of psychosomatic functioning, TCM can often provide much greater insight into the cause and development of disease.

Is acupuncture painful?

The needles used are extremely fine, in fact, barely thicker than a human hair and, generally speaking, their insertion is entirely painless. Only occasionally does a patient experience a slight feeling of discomfort. Then, depending on the type of treatment and the needle technique involved, a patient will feel a mild ache, a sense of numbness, or a vital sensation developing around the inserted needle. Such feelings are not in the least unpleasant and are an indication that the acupuncture is working effectively.

Acupuncture is thus really quite painless and can often, on the contrary, be a rather pleasant experience.

How does acupuncture work?


In the orient, where acupuncture is part and parcel of an ancient medical culture, the answer is fairly straightforward. The average Chinese, Korean or Japanese is content in the knowledge that acupuncture re-balances the bodys Qi [energy patterns]. However, even in the orient, such a definition is much too facile, given that acupuncture takes a number of different forms and is divided into several quite distinct schools. Also its use is, in practice, extremely wide-ranging. For example, acupuncture is frequently used as an analgesic; in operations, it stimulates the bodys own natural painkillers and so obviates the use of a general anaesthetic. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, stimulation of the small toe of a woman, around the 34th week of pregnancy, can force a baby lying in breech position to revert to the correct position.

Here in the west, where the value of acupuncture is gradually becoming more clearly recognised, we are of course trying to fit it into our own, occidental model of medicine. This is proving no easy matter, but nevertheless many orthodox practitioners are now recommending it to their patients. In fact, in some parts of Britain today, acupuncture is regarded as more or less totally mainstream and is freely available within the National Health Service.

How successful is acupuncture?

The short answer is: Very! Often, after just a few sessions, dramatic results are achieved, as thousands of people today can testify. If in doubt, just ask around and you are sure to find someone who has been helped by acupuncture. Indeed, some painful conditions, such as that caused by muscle spasms, get almost instantaneous relief from acupuncture, a single session can eliminate the problem completely. Naturally other, more deep-seated, illnesses, such as asthma or sinusitis, take longer to treat. Any successful outcome depends, however, on a number of factors: the general health of a patient, the severity and duration of their illness, and how their condition has been treated up to now. Each patient is different, and that is exactly how he or she is treated by our acupuncturists at Herbal World - as unique individuals with individual needs. This personal approach is one of the great strengths of acupuncture and enables us to achieve maximum therapeutic results. Whatever the condition treated, be it asthma or insomnia, our approach is always tailored to a patients individual needs. Such treatment is radically different to that of western medicine, which by and large treats symptoms alone and hence all patients in more or less in the same way.

How long are the needles left in?


Once inserted, the needles are generally left in position for around 20 minutes. This, of course, is only a generalisation; in reality the time is determined by the condition of the patient and the illness being treated. The special needles used in acupuncture are all individually packaged, sterile, and used only once.

How long is the average course of acupuncture?

After your initial consultation at Herbal World, the practitioner will give you a fair idea of how many treatments you will need. This, in turn, will give you a good indication of what commitment is required of you in terms of visits to the clinic and financial outlay. But, remember this is only an informed guess on the part of the practitioner; some courses of treatment are much easier to predict than others, it depends a great deal on the nature of the illness.

How safe is acupuncture?

According to WHO (World Health Organisation), acupucnture is entirely safe. This was the finding too on a recent British survey which look at over 34000 treatments carried out by professional practitioners. If you would like to see further details of this survey,please click HERE for the full report.

All our practitioners at Herbal World abide by the strict hygiene procedures laid down by the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and, as we have already indicated, use only sterile, disposable needles.

Will my insurance pay for acupuncture?


In many cases, Yes, but you must consult your insurance company.

Is acupuncture only for pain relief?

Most definitely not! Acupuncture can, of course, be used in this way; however, in good hands it is able to bring about the most remarkable structural and functional changes within the human body. Thus, while in Traditional Chinese acupuncture there is no concept of the hormonal system, treating the acupuncture channels can dramatically influence the hormones. In reality, then, acupuncture can bring relief and healing to patients suffering from a vast range of illnesses and physical complaints.

Our practitioners at Herbal World have long experience of dealing with almost every kind of medical problem - from diabetes to insomnia, prostate problems to depression, eczema to infertility. So, whatever your own particular problem or need do not hesitate to come along. At Herbal World you will find a warm, caring environment and practitioners with the skill and understanding to set you once again on the path to healing and good health.

Useful Links The Journal of Chinese Medicine Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine resources Articles, case histories and tongue gallery Online Magazine of Chinese Medicine Articles on acupuncture, herbs, herb safety and various disorders Articles, newsletters and other resources for patients and practitioners Publisher of books on Chinese medicine Publisher of books on Chinese medicine Publisher of books on Chinese medicine The Yin and Yang of practice building acupuncture British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) International Comprehensive Services of TCM Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis/Leon Hammer articles Articles, case studies, tongue gallery, forum of Chinese medicine Alternative/integrative resource for various disorders and holistic living