What is acupuncture good for?
Acupuncture based on Chinese medicine has been practised and refined for over 2,000 years. It is widely used all around the world, particularly in the Far East, where it is an integral part of mainstream healthcare, both as a stand-alone treatment and in combination with other forms of medicine.

Whilst acupuncture is best known for pain relief from lower back problems, migraine and osteoarthritis of the knee, the World Health Organisation (WHO) lists a wide variety of diseases and disorders for which it has been tested in controlled clinical trials. The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) compiles and publishes the latest research and evidence-based facts on acupuncture:

Please click on a disease to link to the British Acupuncture Council, for research and advice. On mobile phones swipe right to view more items in the table:

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments, when performed by a qualified practitioner. Both practitioner and the premises are inspected and registered by the local authority Environmental Health department. All needles are single-use and sterile. The BAcC requires its members to be trained to degree standard in traditional acupuncture, which includes study of aspects of Western medical science such as physiology, pathology and anatomy, and practitioners are trained to recognise potentially serious underlying health conditions and will refer you to your GP if appropriate. Members are bound by a strict Code of Ethics and a Code of Professional Conduct and Safe Practice

Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

Absolutely! Many couples come to acupuncture when they have difficulty conceiving (some to support IVF treatment), then continue to benefit from the therapy throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

Are there any side effects?

Acupuncture has virtually no unpleasant side effects. Occasionally a small bruise can appear when a needle is removed or a patient might feel briefly dizzy or tired after treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

In general, the longer you have been suffering from a condition, the more treatments you are likely to need. Commonly five or six treatments are required, but for an acute condition, such as lower back pain from a recent injury, two or three sessions often resolve the problem. At the beginning, weekly treatments are recommended, then as the body responds, appointments are made with increasingly long intervals between.

Do I need to tell my doctor?

If you are currently receiving treatment from your doctor, it is recommended you mention to him or her that you plan to have acupuncture. It is important that you tell your acupuncturist about any medication you are taking as it may affect how your respond to acupuncture treatment.

Should I stop taking my prescribed medication whilst I’m having a course of acupuncture?
No. Whilst acupuncture treatment may enable you to reduce or stop taking medication, do not stop taking medication without first consulting your doctor.
Will my health insurance pay for acupuncture?

Check with your insurer, since increasingly, some health policies cover treatment with BAcC registered acupuncturists.

Is there anything I should or shouldn’t do on the day I receive acupuncture treatment?
It is important that you eat some breakfast before a morning appointment, or some lunch before an afternoon session, ideally something light rather than a very heavy meal. In addition it is advisable to avoid drinking alcohol on the day of treatment.