Acupuncture: Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the following most commonly asked questions. If you have a question or concern that is not answered here, please call us!

Many people use acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or conditions. Others choose acupuncture as a preventive measure to strengthen their constitution or because they just feel generally unwell. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages and can be safely integrated alongside conventional medicine.

Acupuncture is widely considered to be beneficial for a range of illnesses and symptoms, from clearly defined complaints to more general feelings of ill health and low energy. Take a look at the British Acupuncture Council’s extensive research fact sheets to find out more about how acupuncture can help you.

This is not a simple question to answer as it depends on many factors such as your individual condition, how long you have had it, as well as how quickly you respond to treatment. At first you may need treatment once or twice a week and may start to feel benefits after the first or second treatment although long-standing and chronic conditions usually need more time to improve. Once your health has begun to improve, you may only require treatments every few weeks.

Acupuncture is also very effective when used for prevention and many people like to go for a ‘retuning’ session at the change of each season.

Most people find acupuncture to be deeply relaxing. Patients often describe the needle sensation as a tingling or dull ache. This is one of the signs the body’s qi, or vital energy, has been stimulated. However, at all times, needling ‘strength’ is adjusted to suit your tolerance and the condition being treated, so that you are comfortable throughout your treatment.

Many different types of needle and gauges (thicknesses) are used – for the very sensitive, incredibly fine needles, down to 0.12mm wide can be used!

Try not to have a large meal within an hour of your appointment as the process of digestion will alter the pattern of your pulse and depending upon the treatment required, you may need to lie on your stomach!  You should also avoid alcohol and food or drink that colours your tongue such as coffee or strong tea. It is a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothes so that the acupuncture points, especially those on your lower limbs, are easily accessible.

Please also try not to wear makeup, perfumes or body-sprays especially on your first visit, as the detailed diagnosis also includes looking at your natural colouring and allowing the practitioner to pick up odours that might relate to your condition (please note, we do not ‘smell our patients’ but simply maintain a sensitive awareness whilst we are in the room working with you!).

You are likely to feel relaxed and calm. Some people experience an emotional release. If the treatment has been particularly strong you may feel tired or drowsy and it is worth bearing this in mind if you plan to drive or use any other machinery soon afterwards.

Acupuncture has virtually no unpleasant side effects. Any that do occur are mild and self-correcting. Occasionally there may be minor bruising at the needle point or a short-term flare-up of your current or old symptoms as your qi clears and resettles and your body regains balance.

Acupuncture points are chosen based on many factors such as the time of day, season, climate and your unique, specific complaints. The number of points chosen, the type of needle, technique and duration the needles are left in for varies greatly. This is based on the specific treatment required for you at that particular time – making acupuncture an incredibly tailored treatment.

Lee uses approximately 18 different types of needle for different applications. All of the needles are sterile, single-use, disposable needles with some as fine as a human hair (0.12mm wide). This makes acupuncture suitable even for those with great sensitivity.

Because Lee uses mostly classical acupuncture techniques, aside from certain protocols used to treat specific complaints, the number of points used is almost always very few and can typically be one to six.

Depending upon what a person needs, the needles are left in the body for less than a second or two in order to stimulate your energy, or up to thirty minutes to create a different effect. On occasion, this can be longer depending upon the required effect. It is common for people to comment on how deeply relaxed they feel whilst the needles are in, as the Qi is smoothed and regulated.

Yes. The acupuncture treatment may enable you to reduce or even stop taking some forms of medication but you should always consult your doctor regarding any change of prescription. DO NOT stop taking medication without professional guidance.

If you are currently receiving treatment from your doctor it is sensible to mention that you plan to have acupuncture. Your acupuncturist will need to know about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.

That depends upon your insurer and the policy you have. As the demand for complementary medicine increases more private health insurance companies are beginning to offer cover for acupuncture. You should check your individual policy details. If you choose to use your insurance to cover your treatment costs, please ensure that you still pay on the day of your treatment and then claim your expenses as we are not able to do this for you.