Getting to the point of… what to expect


We know that, for some, the idea of that initial appointment can be a little daunting. Trying anything unknown can cause apprehension but, you’ve done it, you’ve contacted your local BAcC practitioner for that initial appointment – so, what can you expect?

Traditional treatment is based on a thorough consultation – an holistic overview of your health, lifestyle and any other contributing factors such as diet. A BAcC acupuncturist will take your medical history, read your pulse, may examine the site of your symptoms, and may look at your tongue. Your individual treatment plan will be based on your current health and lifestyle, and your acupuncturist will decide which combination of points is right for your whole body, as well as your symptoms.

For reassurance, BAcC practitioners will take time to take you carefully through the procedure – explaining what’s going to happen and offering you time to ask questions. Patients will always be encouraged to communicate if you have any concerns, you can ask to stop at any time.

The needles!
BAcC acupuncturists are all too aware of some people’s aversion to needles or the preconceived idea of pain. Did you know that the thinnest acupuncture needle is in fact the thickness of the fullest human hair – that’s ¼ the thickness of a standard hypodermic needle?

Acupuncturists also work with other techniques, including moxibustion, cupping, acupressure and massage, which may not involve the use of needles.

Moxibustion is the burning of an herb called moxa (Chinese Mugwort, Artemisia argyi) to warm specific parts of the body, including acupuncture points.

In cupping, a partial vacuum is created in a cup which is placed on the skin. The suction then stimulates the flow of Qi and blood. The cups were traditionally made of bamboo but are now more commonly glass or plastic. The partial vacuum is created either by a flame or a pump.

So, how does acupuncture feel?
If traditional acupuncture is the recommended treatment for you, acupuncture needles could be inserted for just a second or two, or you may be left to rest for a while before the needles are removed. The needles are so fine that most people don’t feel them being inserted. It is normal to feel a mild tingle or dull ache as your acupuncturist adjusts the needle and many people feel deeply relaxed during the treatment.

In terms of side effects, sometimes a small bruise may appear. Occasionally, people can feel dizzy or tired for a brief time after treatment but these side effects are transitory and will resolve by themselves.

Normally, people will have a course of treatment. Weekly sessions are quite usual to begin with, for perhaps five or six treatments, reducing in frequency as your body responds. Your BAcC acupuncturist will suggest how often you should come for treatment.

Safety first
Acupuncture has been shown to be a very safe intervention when performed by a fully trained and qualified professional, and the risk of serious adverse events from acupuncture is extremely low.

Acupuncture in the UK is not regulated by law and, therefore, it is suggested to see an acupuncture professional, such as a BAcC Member, who is listed on a PSA accredited register. This is a quality mark for the highest standards of training, safe practice and professional conduct.

How much does acupuncture treatment cost?
For those of you who are just starting to consider acupuncture, the typical cost is normally in the region of £20 and £80 per session. However, some practitioners charge more. The cost varies depending on the individual acupuncturist, the area in which they are based and their overheads. There is a ‘Find an acupuncturist’ search function on the BAcC website which allows you to search for practitioners in your area using your postcode. Generally, there are options to suit all budgets, from one-to-one consultations to multibed clinics. Some insurance companies also cover the cost of treatments with BAcC registered acupuncturists.

Still unsure whether to give acupuncture a go? Maybe this will help…

Acupuncture Awareness Week 2023
March 2023