Frequently Asked Questions

Brigg, North Lincolnshire

Four Gates Acupuncture



What is Acupuncture?


Acupuncture, one of the main components within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), originated and has been practised in China for more than 2000 years. In China, acupuncture still features in mainstream healthcare, both as a stand-alone therapy, and in combination with conventional western medicine.



Acupuncture is based on the distinct and comprehensive theories of TCM with its own unique diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Traditional Chinese Medicine views the body as an organic whole, with a network of meridians located just beneath our skin. These meridians connect and coordinate with our internal organs, muscles, tissues, bone and skin. Qi (vital energy/pronounced 'chi'), of the body circulates along and through the meridians. According to TCM, our health and well-being is dependant upon our Qi flowing balanced and smoothly. The signs and symptoms of pain and/or illness become apparent when our Qi becomes unbalanced and fails to flow smoothly. By inserting ultra-fine, sterile needles, into specific acupuncture points on the body, a traditional acupuncturist seeks to re-establish the free and smooth flow of Qi throughout the body. The aim of acupuncture treatment is to restore balance and trigger the body's own natural healing response.


Is Acupuncture safe?


Results of two independent surveys published in the British Medical Journal, 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. Responses to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness, and very occasionally minor bruising around needled points. However, all such reactions are short lived and self correcting.


As an ATCM member, you have the following assurances:


* BSc degree level training in traditional acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and western biomedical sciences including anatomy, physiology and pathology (3,600 hours of study)


* Compliance with current UK health and safety legislation


* Full medical malpractice and public/product liability insurance cover


* Compliance with ATCM's Code of Safe Practice and Code of Professional Conduct


* Use of only pre-sterilised single-use needles which are safely disposed of after your treatment



What does Acupuncture feel like?


Acupuncture needles are much finer (comparable to the thickness of a strand of hair) than needles used for injections and blood tests. You may not even feel the needle penetrate the skin and once in place they are hardly noticeable. After insertion, the needle will be gently manipulated to enable an important sensation known as 'De Qi' (obtaining Qi). This sensation generally feels like a dull ache, and/or heavy sensation around the needled point.


What happens when I go for treatment?


Your first appointment will generally take an hour and a half. A full case history will be taken to get a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. This includes taking a full medical history, as well as, discussing your main complaint in detail. Diagnostic tools will also include feeling your pulses on both wrists and looking at your tongue.


What should I do before and after treatment?


It is best not to have a large meal within an hour of your acupuncture treatment. However, please make sure you have eaten something light a couple of hours prior to your treatment. After treatment, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water and rest accordingly, dependant upon how your body feels.


How many sessions will I require?


Frequency and number of sessions depend upon your individual condition. Some change is usually felt within the first or second treatment, although long standing and chronic conditions may require more time and subsequent treatments to improve and heal your condition fully. Once your health has stabilised, you may choose to have regular, 'top up' treatments to maintain your good health.


Will my private medical insurance cover my treatment?


Currently, the companies that will reimburse for acupuncture treatment, which recognise the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture UK (ATCM) are, Simplyhealth, Healthsure, BCWA, Totally Active, HSA, Leeds Hospital Fund, Medisure, Sovereign Health Care, HSF Health Plan, National Friendly, Healthshield, Medicare, Medicash and Paycare. It is best to check directly with your health care insurance plan, to see if you can claim back your costs.