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Go To See is a great resource for information on acupuncture. So if you're looking for an acupuncturist then you've come to the right place. Our acupuncture page helps answer your frequently asked questions and our database will help you find a qualified acupuncturist. So if you want to know what to expect from acupuncture or where to find a reputable acupuncturist then should be your first point of contact.


In This Article
History of Acupuncture How does it work?
A typical appointment What to expect
Timings/ Cost/ Sessions Who should/ Shouldn't visit?

The true historical origins of acupuncture are unclear with archaeological evidence suggesting its use in Mongolia during the Stone Age. However, with early accounts of acupuncturists practising the therapy as far back as 300BC, the actual first record of the use of acupuncture dates back more than 2,000 years to the Far East. The term 'acupuncture' was first used by a Dutch physician during a visit to Japan in the early 17th century and is taken from the Latin "acus" "pungere" ("needle" "prick").

Forming part of what is known as 'Traditional Chinese Medicine', acupuncture in China actually declined in the 18th century when Western medicine was introduced by European physicians. Although remaining popular in the rural areas of the country, acupuncture didn't become prevalent again until the mid 20th century as China established itself into the People's Republic.

Acupuncture was introduced to 17th century Europe by returning doctors and missionaries from the Far East but the first medical studies of acupuncture in Britain didn't begin until the 1950s. As of 2007 there are over 2,800 British Acupuncture Council registered acupuncturists in the UK.


Ancient Chinese philosophy states that acupuncture restores the balance of Yin and Yang by freeing our life energy or qi (chi) that flows through channels (known as meridians) under the skin. By inserting needles into channels that have become blocked, the acupuncturist stimulates the body's healing response and thereby helps to restore its natural balance.

A possible scientific explanation for acupuncture is that the insertion of needles stimulates deep sensory nerves in the body that cause a chemical release of endorphins and other substances. These substances, once released in the body, can help with pain relief, assist healing or be used for anaesthetic purposes.

Acupuncture has also been found to affect many other functions including: hormone release (responses to injury and stress), circulation (blood pressure and heart rate) and digestion (secretion of gastric acid).


Be prepared

Regulation of acupuncture will become statutory in 2010 when the title of acupuncturist will be protected by law and anyone wanting to practise acupuncture will have to be a member of a professional body. It is important for anyone considering Acupuncture or for that matter any therapy that you check your practitioner has undergone thorough training and is accredited with the relevant governing body and listed on the public practitioner register.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has registered acupuncturists who have completed a minimum three years of training and whose full members have MBAcC after their name. The British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) is a group of doctors, nurses and other regulated healthcare professionals who are trained in acupuncture. They practise in NHS clinics, GP surgeries, or private clinics. Your local Primary Care Trust or GP practice may offer funded acupuncture treatment but not all doctors are prepared to recommend it.

Acupuncture is regulated by the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The key purpose of CNHC is to act in the public interest and enable proper public accountability of the therapists that it registers.

Before your appointment, spend time thinking about your condition and what you expect to achieve with acupuncture. Make some notes before you attend about your expectations and concerns. If you have a few conditions, put them in order so the acupuncturist can address the most severe first. Secondary problems can then be addresses further down the line.

It is advisable not to drink alcohol on the day of your appointment, drink plenty of water instead. Have a light meal (nothing spicy or fatty) a couple of hours before you see the acupuncturist and avoid any activity that requires too much exertion. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and allow plenty of time to get to your appointment; hurrying will affect your physical and mental well-being and be detrimental to the effects of the therapy.

During your appointment the acupuncturist will first make a diagnosis using information provided by you about your general health, your symptoms, your diet, quality of your bowel movements and sleep patterns.

They may also use various physical examinations such as looking at your tongue and its colour, shape and coating (the tongue is said to show any imbalance within the meridians of the body). The acupuncturist may check each wrist for six pulses that give information about the health of your internal organs and the body in general. They may also press on various acupuncture points around the body to check for tenderness and pain. Once the diagnosis has been made, the acupuncturist will explain your specific treatment and what changes to expect through its course.

The sterile needles your acupuncturist uses are not like syringe needles; they are much thinner but range in width and length dependent on where they are to be inserted in the body. The needles will be inserted by hand (sometimes through a guide tube) in various parts of the body such as the wrists, hands, feet, abdomen and back. You may feel a mild sensation when the needles are inserted but it should not be painful. Many patients find the sensation extremely relaxing.

Some treatments utilise other techniques including: Electro-acupuncture (stimulating the needles with an electric charge), Moxibustion (burning a herb close to the skin, used for conditions such as abdominal cramps) or Cupping (placing glass or plastic cups on the skin to remove toxins, relieve tension or increase circulation). Your acupuncturist will discuss these alternatives with you first should they feel they are beneficial.

Acupuncturists take a holistic approach (looking at the body as a whole) to target the main symptom so you may find that if you suffer with headaches for instance, they will insert needles into your hand or foot (along the line of the channel) to alleviate the problem.


Treatment times vary and your first appointment will usually take a little longer while the acupuncturist diagnoses your problem. Some needles will be inserted and removed immediately while others will remain in for anywhere between 10 - 45 minutes. During this period many people find they are so relaxed they fall asleep. Some treatment may require the needles to be inserted in your front for a short while and then the back.

As a general guide, a first visit can cost from £30 - £50 with subsequent appointments slightly lower but be aware that prices vary from town to town and acupuncturist's overheads vary so check with you local practitioners first.

You may find that you feel the benefits of acupuncture from your first treatment and after your first two or three appointments you and your acupuncturist will have a good idea of the effectiveness of the treatment. It is recommended that a course last between six and ten treatments but your acupuncturist will advise you on this based on your progress.


Acupuncture has proved to be an effective therapy for many people with varying conditions. Cancer patients are among those who have benefited from the therapy through the relief of nausea brought on by chemotherapy. The therapy is also becoming increasingly popular during pregnancy helping alleviate morning sickness, backache, and heartburn. It has proved helpful with post-natal conditions too. However, certain acupuncture points on the body are unsafe during pregnancy and you should inform your acupuncturist if you are pregnant or suspect you might be.  

It is recommended that people with certain conditions should not use acupuncture. These include people with low blood counts (increased bleeding from low platelet count, risk of infection from low white cell count), people who wear pacemakers or have a heart-murmur and those who are diagnosed with lymphoedema. If you have any medical condition it is advisable to consult your GP before making an appointment to see an acupuncturist.

If you decide to go ahead with acupuncture you should inform your acupuncturist if you're taking any medication as this can interact with the therapy and potentially lead to side-effects. Your treatment will also not go ahead if you are fasting or if you are intoxicated on alcohol or recreational drugs.

This therapy or modality may help with:

Abdominal Pain Acne Addiction
ADHD Alcoholism Allergies
Anger Management Anxiety Arthritis
Back Pain Blood pressure Bloody Nose
Breathing disorders Bronchitis Cancers
Catarrh Childbirth Chronic Fatigue
Chronic Pain Circulation Problems Constipation
Cystitis Dementia Depression
Dermatitis Despair Anguish Diarrhoea
Digestive Problems Drug addiction Dry eye
Dry mouth Ear Ache Eating Disorders
Eczema Excessive Sweating Fainting
Fever Flu Foot Problems
Frozen Shoulder Glue ear Grief
Hair Loss Hay Fever Headaches
Heart Burn Hormone Imbalance Hyperhidrosis
Immune System Dysfunction Impotence Incontinence
Indigestion Infertility Influenza (Flu)
Insomnia Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Itching
Joint Pain Ligament Sprain Lumbago
M E Migraines Mouth ulcers
Multiple Sclerosis MS Muscle Cramps Nausea
Neck pain Neck stiffness Obesity
OCD Parkinsons disease Period pain
PMS PMT Pre Conceptual Health Pregnancy
Repetitive strain injury Rheumatism Runny Nose
Sciatica Sexual Dysfunction Shoulder pain
Sinusitis Smoking Addiction Sore throat
Spinal Injury Sports injuries Sprain (Ankle, Knee)
Stomach cramps Stress Stroke
Tennis Elbow Tiredness Tonsillitis
Toothache Vomiting Watery Eye
Weight Management Whiplash

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Featured Acupuncture Practitioners

Sample Of Practitioners By Location
Acupuncture Birmingham Acupuncture Brighton Acupuncture Bristol
Acupuncture Cardiff Acupuncture Central London Acupuncture Coventry
Acupuncture East London Acupuncture Edinburgh Acupuncture Glasgow
Acupuncture Harley Street Acupuncture Leeds Acupuncture Liverpool
Acupuncture Manchester Acupuncture North London Acupuncture Sheffield
Acupuncture South London Acupuncture West London

About Therapist Qualifications

British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) More Info British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) More Info
The Acupuncture Society The Acupuncture Society More Info Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) More Info
The Association Of Traditional Chinese Medicine ATCM The Association Of Traditional Chinese Medicine ATCM More Info

Common Misspellings:
Accuncture, Accupuncture, Accupunture, Acupunture, Accuncturist, Accupuncturist, Accupunturist, Acupunturist, Accupunturist


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