Frequently asked questions

inserting an acupuncture needle

Does acupuncture work - how many appointments will I need and how often?

This depends on each individual case. Responses to acupuncture do vary from person to person and will depend on the nature of the condition. Many people with acute conditions experience a real improvement in symptoms very quickly. For people with longer term and more complex cases change can be more subtle and usually require a longer period of acupuncture. Initially most patients attend for acupuncture on a weekly basis. As symptoms improve so the interval between appointments is extended. Most people notice some improvement after 4-6 appointments. Progress and frequency of appointments is regularly reviewed at each session.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are extremely fine and very different to the needles used when, for example, having blood taken. When an acupuncture needle is inserted some people can feel a tiny pin prick. The sensation patients do feel when the acupuncture point is reached is usually described as a dull ache or tingling sensation followed by a feeling of relaxation.

Is acupuncture safe?

All members of the British Acupuncture Council are required to work within clear standards relating to hygiene and safety. These standards have been approved by the Department of Health and provide protection against the transmission of infectious diseases. The needles used in acupuncture are pre-sterilised, single use and disposable.

Are there any side effects?

After acupuncture some patients can feel a bit sleepy or light headed but some patients report that they feel more relaxed and have more energy. Very occasionally a bruise can appear at the site where the acupuncture needle was inserted but this will disappear after a few days.

Should I tell my doctor I'm having acupuncture?

If you are receiving treatment from your doctor then it can be helpful to let them know about any acupuncture you plan to have. Acupuncture is increasingly recognised as being an effective complementary therapy alongside conventional medical treatment and an excellent option for providing symptomatic relief for a whole range of conditions. You should also give your acupuncturist details of any medication you are taking.


If you have any other questions about acupuncture Alison will be very happy to answer them. Please visit the contact page to ask a question.