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  • Writer's pictureEmma

7 Things You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Acupuncture (but were afraid to ask!).

When I tell people what I do for a living, it often results in their wanting to know more. As well as general curiosity, I think for lots of people considering acupuncture treatment there are a lot of questions which can prevent them for taking the plunge and booking an appointment. I know this was certainly true for me and I was quite apprehensive before my very first experience as a patient.

So, I thought I would pull together some of the most common questions and do my best to answer them.

1. What are the benefits of Five Element acupuncture?

This is a great question and a good place to start. My own feeling is that if more people experienced and understood the benefits of acupuncture, it would be something that most people did regularly! Usually people come for treatment looking for help with a specific issue. Common complaints are insomnia, anxiety and fertility issues (to name a few), however many patients continue to come for treatment even after these symptoms have reduced or disappeared.

So why is this? Well, our job as practitioners is to look for the root cause of a symptom and treat this cause, rather than just treat the symptom itself. The impact of this is that patients find that other issues are also resolved – maybe they feel more positive about their future, or they decide to move on from a toxic relationship. They may feel a strong sense of wellbeing, calm or contentment and find themselves making choices which lead them to feel better overall. This is where the real benefit of Five Element acupuncture lies and why it has survived for thousands of years.

2. Can acupuncture complement Western medicine and how does it differ?

I feel acupuncture can work side by side with western medicine. Sadly, with increasing pressure on the NHS, most of us do not get as much time with our doctors as we, or they, would like. We have seen a rise in mental health issues, infertility and a one size fits all approach to these problems. I feel very lucky that I am able to give my patients time to discuss any issues they are facing and dedicate a full hour or more to focussing on them. Every patient is treated as an individual and their treatment plan will be unique to them.

It differs a great deal. The root of acupuncture is in Chinese medicine which approaches health in a completely different way. One example is that as practitioners we look at our patient’s health in terms of their body, mind and spirit. It is in fact impossible to separate these three aspects of ourselves. Physical problems can have an emotional or spiritual cause and all three should be in balance for us to live a long, healthy life.

3. How do I find a reputable Five Element acupuncture practitioner?

This is a very important as there are many practitioners out there and it can be difficult to know where to look. Organisations such as AFEA should help you find a local practitioner who has trained specifically in Five Element acupuncture. The training is detailed and practitioners are required to have continued assessments to ensure they are still performing to a high standard. Be selective and do your research.

4. Does acupuncture hurt?

I get asked this one a lot!! I’ll be honest… sometimes. We do use needles after all! However, any ‘pain’ is minimal and short lived. In general, the feedback from patients is that it isn’t as painful as they were expecting, if at all. So, if you’re considering it and nervous, please don’t be. We take very good care of you.


Usually asked by the same people as the above question. Very, very tiny (I promise).

6. Are there side effects to Five Element acupuncture treatment?

The beauty of acupuncture is that it is a completely natural treatment. This means there are almost no side effects so treatment is suitable for pregnant women who are unable or prefer not to take medication. In my experience, the only side effects are positive.

7. How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments required will vary depending on the individual. For example, a patient who has been suffering from an illness for many years may need more treatments than one who has only recently begun having symptoms. Our aim as practitioners is to help our patients reach a point where they only need to come for treatment every 12 weeks or so to maintain their health. When you begin treatment, you should expect to have weekly or fortnightly sessions initially, but your practitioner should advise you on what is best in your particular case. Every patient is looked at as an individual and their needs are all unique.

I hope this has answered some of your questions and maybe allayed some fears. If you would like to ask me anything else acupuncture related, or would like to book a consultation, please get in touch.

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