Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

What happens at my first appointment?
The first full consultation is a longer session and takes up to 1.5 hours. A detailed health and personal history is taken as well as understanding specifically what you would like Acupuncture for. A physical examination may be undertaken, e.g. examining joints or points on the abdomen, taking blood pressure etc. Your pulse will be checked on both wrists and you will be asked to stick out your tongue! these are important diagnostic tools used in acupuncture. It is important you mention any medications you are taking and any past accidents or events that may have contributed to the current condition. Patients appreciate this holistic approach and often are surprised at the connections that can be made between past history/events and seemingly unrelated disharmonies and the main reason(s) they have sought treatment.
Does it hurt?
Understandably, this is a commonly asked question. Most peoples’ experience of needles is either an injection like a ‘flu jab or if they have blood taken. Needles for these procedures are “hypodermics” and are much, much thicker than an acupuncture needle, which are 25-50 times thinner than a hypodermic. The needles used in the clinic are only 0.16 to 0.3 mm wide and they are inserted just below the skin (usually 3 –6 mm). There is generally little sensitivity to the insertion of acupuncture needles. While some people feel nothing at all; others experience a brief moment of discomfort as the needle penetrates the skin that can be followed by a mild sensation of cramping, tingling, numbness, travelling warmth, or heaviness, but it generally not painful. We call this sensation “de Qi” (“getting the energy”) and recent clinical studies have shown this sensation is important for manifesting the treatment effect. How acupuncture feels also depends on where the needle is placed on the body and some people are more sensitive than others. Alison tailors each treatment to the sensitivity of each patient, so you are always in complete control of what happens to you. Most patients don’t consider acupuncture to be painful and they find the benefits outweigh any discomfort.  
How long do the needles stay in for?
Needles are usually left in place for twenty to thirty minutes. However, sometimes needles are inserted and withdrawn straight away. Often you will receive both approaches in one session, depending on what you need.
Do you only use Acupuncture?
With your consent, other therapeutic Traditional East Asian Medicine techniques are used. This includes Tui Na (Chinese therapeutic massage), Gua Sha, Cupping or Moxa (a heating Chinese herb applied externally). Kinesiology® or Acupressure Taping or Magnets can also be applied. If appropriate, you will also receive Chinese Medicine-based nutrition and lifestyle advice, tailored for you.
What do I need to wear? Do I need to undress?
Acupuncture is performed on the skin, not through clothing. Many commonly used acupuncture points are on the arms and legs, so you may find it easier to wear loose clothing. There may be times that access is needed to other parts of your body and so you may need to partially undress. If this is required, this will be explained to you in advance and your consent obtained. Gowns and blankets are always provided.
Do I need to do anything else before treatment?
At the first appointment, if possible, please avoid wearing foundation make-up and lipstick as this aids diagnosis based on skin tone, colour etc. Please avoid alcohol in the hours before and after treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
Acupuncture is a process. Many patients require a course of treatments rather than only one or two sessions. This is especially true if the issue is chronic. At your first appointment, a treatment plan is agreed with you, including proposed initial number and frequency of treatments. Very broadly, a substantial difference can usually be expected in the first five treatments but you should start to notice changes after the first session and these are then built into your ongoing treatment plan. This is very much dependent on the condition, your overall health and also how chronic the condition is. Many people continue to have regular (often monthly or seasonal) maintenance treatments. You are under no obligation whatsoever to continue treatment and can cancel at any time (see fees schedule for details on cancellations).
Is it safe?
All needles used are single-use, sterile and disposable. Once they are used they are incinerated. Response to treatment can sometimes include initial tiredness or mild dizziness, and very occasionally minor bruising can occur. All such reactions are short-lived. One Acupuncture® adheres to the British Acupuncture Council’s Codes of Safe Practice and Professional Conduct. Alison holds a First Aid certificate and has full public liability and indemnity insurance. Premises and personal practice licenses have been granted by both Bracknell Forest Council & Wokingham Councils.
What if I need to get in touch with you?
One of the benefits of having your own Health Practitioner, is access to someone for advice and support. In this electronic age of instant access and multiple media streams, you can send call, send messages, texts, emails etc. Unless it is an emergency that requires an immediate response, you should expect to receive a reply within 24 hrs during normal working weekday hours.
What if I need to cancel an appointment?
Appointments are often booked up in advance, so it is a good idea to book ahead. However, sometimes this means that you do need to change an appointment and the clinic is very flexible. However, as a this means that you do need to change an appointment and the clinic is very flexible. However, as a courtesy to other patients, so that they have access to appointments, please give as much notice as possible. To facilitate this, there is a strict cancellation policy. For new patientsbooking a first appointment, 1 full working weeks’ notice is required otherwise there is a 100% cancellation charge. If cancelled at any time once the booking is made, then a £10 administration fee will be deducted. If less than two workingdays’ notice is given, then you will be invoiced for 50% of the fee, except in exceptional circumstances. If less than one working-day, then 100% of the fee will be invoiced. You will receive an electronic confirmation of every appointment and then a reminder 2 working-days in advance. Should you need to cancel once you’ve received this reminder, then the cancellation policy applies. Thank you for your co-operation with this, to ensure the efficient running of the clinic.
When do I need to pay for my appointment/package?
We now have an online booking system which you are welcome to use. Payment is taken when you book, via debit or credit card (no fee). If you book directly through the clinic then payment is taken over the phone to secure the booking.