Frequently Asked Questions
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works by allowing the Qi (vital force) in your body to move freely again. In Chinese Medicine, we say that stagnated Qi causes pain and unwanted physical signs and symptoms. By allowing your Qi to move at its optimum level, you feel better physically and emotionally. Scientifically, Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate pain by releasing endorphins which are pain-blocking biochemicals. It can influence the cellular matrix of connective tissue, stimulate regions of the brain which correlate to specific acupoints. This means enables your body to restore balance.
Is Acupuncture safe?
Yes. As long as you are being treated by an experienced registered Acupuncturist who is a member of a professional regulating body. You can be assured that they have completed thorough training, experience and understanding in relevant medical and Chinese Medicine theory.
Are the needles sterile?
Yes, the needles are taken from a sterile blister pack. They are disposable, sterile and single-use only.
Do the needles hurt?
You may experience a slight prick as the needle penetrates the skin but this is a momentary experience, most people would describe the feeling as virtually painless or no more painful than plucking out a hair. What happens after the needle is inserted is of much more importance and you must provide feedback on what you are feeling to your practitioner. Most people feel a dull ache, tingling or feeling of heaviness or numbness around the area where the needle is, occasionally a mild electrical pulsation radiating away from the site of the needle is felt. Reactions such as these to needling are of vital clinical importance to the Acupuncturist and signify that the Qi has been accessed, i.e. De Chi (pronounced De Chee). The needles are then left in place from 15 to 30 minutes and may be occasionally manipulated by the Practitioner.
How should I prepare for my first treatment?
Try not to have a big meal within 2 hours of your appointment, as the process of digestion will alter your pulse. Avoid alcohol and drinks containing caffeine (coffee, Coke etc,) and other stimulants. Also avoid eating or drinking anything that could temporally change the natural colour of your tongue e.g. beetroot, chocolate etc.
Since the practitioner may need to insert needles in your back, abdomen etc., wear easily removable casual clothing, your practitioner will be mindful of your right to privacy and modesty.
What should I expect from my first session?
The first consultation will usually take from 60-90 mins depending on your condition. Follow up visits are shorter (45-75 minutes on average). A detailed case history (including your medical case history & GP contact details) will be taken and may ask you questions that appear irrelevant to your condition such as social habits, family history, diet, your emotional status etc.
Your pulse and tongue diagnosis will then follow. An outline of the diagnosis will be explained to you and where needles are to be inserted.
After the withdrawal of the needles cupping techniques is applied if recommended or requested.
After the treatment, home care advice and treatment plan are discussed.
Does Acupuncture and TCM have it limits?
Of course they do, Acupuncture and TCM are powerful healing systems but they are not panaceas nor are they the solution to every health problem. Both Western medicine and TCM have their respective strengths and weaknesses which is why, in modern China, the two systems are used together. When appropriately combined, both systems have a synergistic effect which serves the patient well.
As a broad rule, acute life threatening conditions are best dealt with by Western medicine, routine and chronic conditions for which drug therapy and surgery have not been effective often benefit from Acupuncture/TCM.
Is Acupucnture available on GSM?
Acupuncture is not available for reimbursement on the GMS at the present time despite several reports calling for acupuncture to be made available on the GMS and within HSE hospitals.
The cost of Acupuncture treatment is re-imbursable by Hibernian Health, VHI and Quinn Healthcare Outpatient Schemes and Members of the AFPA are approved by Vhi Healthcare, Irish Life Health, Laya Healthcare, HSF and other health insurance companies (check your policy and excess for details).
How many treatments will I need?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on so many variables such as the nature of your condition, your overall health, how long you have had this particular condition and your response to acupuncture treatment.
As once-off miracle cures are still rare, you should commit yourself to a course of treatment and be prepared to give it a chance. Usually, if your condition is going to respond, then you can expect to see results after about 4-6 treatments. Acupuncture treatments seem to have a cumulative effect with each treatment building in the effects of the previous treatments. It is thus not unusual to see little or no improvement after the earlier treatments but to suddenly experience an improvement in your condition after about the 7th or 8th treatments as if you had passed some kind of threshold. This is why it is important to commit to a course of treatments.
It is important to note that if acupuncture didn’t work for you then that is not to say that acupuncture will not work for somebody else with a condition such as yours, as Acupuncturists treat people on a holistic basis, just because your migraine condition did not respond is not an indication that somebody else’s migraine condition will not respond, everybody responds on an individual basis.
Does Acupuncture have side effects?
In short, no. Acupuncture is about re-balancing the body’s energy and quite often a sense of relaxation and general wellbeing results after a course of treatments. Because of this re-balancing effect, other conditions may resolve or become less bothersome while you are undergoing treatment for a different condition.
What is your cancelation policy ?
No-shows or cancelations made less than 24 hours before the scheduled appointment will result in a 100% service fee charge.