We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about acupuncture. If you have any other questions, please feel free to get in touch.

Some people feel the benefit of acupuncture after just one or two sessions, but I generally recommend a course of four to six treatments to see how acupuncture can help you. Chronic conditions might need longer to improve. Weekly sessions are more beneficial as the effect of treatment is cumulative.

Once your symptoms improve, the frequency of sessions can be reduced. Many patients come in for top-up monthly treatments or even look to treatment at the change of each season throughout the year.

Acupuncture needles are very fine and bear no resemblance to those used in injections or blood tests. A tingling sensation or a dull ache is sometimes felt when the point is stimulated which quickly fades.  Most people feel very relaxed and calm after treatment, and leave feeling re-energised and clearer headed.

There are numerous scientific papers published on the safety of acupuncture. These have concluded that acupuncture is safe so long as it is delivered by a properly trained individual who belongs to a professional organisation such as The British Acupuncture Council.

Slight bruising around acupuncture points may occur occasionally. Cupping and gua sha can sometimes temporarily mark the skin, but this will usually clear in a day or two. Occasionally people can feel tired after treatment but this passes quickly.

Research papers on the safety of acupuncture:

MacPherson H, Thomas K, Walters S, et al. The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34 000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists. BMJ Clinical research 2001;323(7311):486-87.

White, A. (2006). The safety of acupuncture – evidence from the UK. Acupuncture in Medicine, 24(Suppl), 53–57. https://doi.org/10.1136/aim.24.Suppl.53

Witt CM, Pach D, Brinkhaus B, et al. Safety of acupuncture: results of a prospective observational study with 229,230 patients and introduction of a medical information and consent form. Forschende Komplementärmedizin 2009;16(2):91-97. doi: 10.1159/000209315

Please eat a light snack before coming in for treatment and, ideally, avoid alcohol for 24 hours afterwards.

From a biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system, influencing the production of the body’s communication substances – hormones and neurotransmitters. The resulting biochemical changes activate the body’s self-regulating homeostatic systems promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Acupuncture can be used alongside conventional medicine. If you have been prescribed medication, you may wish to tell your doctor that you are receiving acupuncture treatment. Please inform me of any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to treatment.

I may suggest ways in which you can enhance the long-term effects of your treatment, which may involve making changes to your diet and daily routine. In Chinese Medicine, diet, sleep, exercise and other lifestyle factors can strongly influence our body’s ability to keep in balance.

Many private health policies now have a provision for acupuncture treatment. Please note that you will have to pay Highgate Acupuncture for treatment and then claim back from your insurers. Invoices, with professional membership details, will be provided.