What to expect 

What happens when you have acupuncture for the first time?

The first time you visit for an acupuncture treatment, you will be asked questions about your body systems - sleep, digestion, bowels, bladder; your medical history; the medicines you take, both prescription and over the counter; lifestyle; work; family situation and I make sure I have a thorough understanding of the health issues for which you are seeking treatment.

Examination of the tongue and pulse are important diagnostic techniques in Chinese medicine and along with the information you supply help to provide a diagnosis.  At this stage it should be possible to give you an indication of the number of sessions you will require.  In general acute (recent onset) conditions tend to require fewer sessions than chronic (long term) conditions.  We will discuss your expectations from treatment, what is likely and achievable and agree on suitable milestones and measures of success.

What does it feel like?

Acupuncture needles are much finer than needles used for injections and blood tests. When the needle is inserted you may feel a tingling sensation or dull ache or nothing at all!  Sometimes heat or gentle electrical stimulation is added.  Most find the experience very calming and relaxing as pain-relieving hormones such as endorphins kick in.  In my experience even needle-phobic patients cope very well with acupuncture and find the treatment relaxing. 


an acupuncture needle and a paper clip to show scale

All needles used are of the finest quality, manufactured in Germany or Japan because these are the most comfortable for my patients.

Is it safe?

The results of two independent surveys published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 (MacPherson et al, White et al, both BMJ September 2001) concluded that the risk of serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. The needles used are single-use, sterile, and disposable. Reactions to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness, and very occasionally minor bruising may occur. However, all such reactions are short-lived.


The World Health Organisation lists a wide variety of diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials.

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