I’m scared of needles. Will this hurt?

Acupuncture needles are so fine (the width of a human hair) that you shouldn’t even feel the needle go in. Sensations that you might feel when the needle is in include tingling, a dull ache, a pulling sensation or a feeling of warmth around the needle. None of these sensations should feel particularly painful.

In treating patients that are extremely nervous or scared of needles I have developed techniques to calm and distract patients on needle insertion.


Is acupuncture safe?

In short, yes. Acupuncture is one of the safest complementary therapies. However, some patients can feel slightly faint during treatment, especially if they have not eaten that day. Occasionally, a mild bruise can occur around the site where the needle has been inserted but this generally doesn’t cause any issues or complications. In the clinic I use disposable, single-use needles.


How many treatments will I need?

As each person is different and has different needs the length of time and amount of treatments needed will vary. Ideally, I like to see patients weekly for the first 4-6 weeks and then spread out treatments accordingly. The aim of acupuncture is to help your body heal itself. Once patients are starting to feel like themselves again they tend to come in for maintenance once a month or once every two months.


Acupuncture isn’t a one size fits all medicine. Some people find that they respond quickly and dramatically to treatment while others find that it takes a little longer to progress. Acute conditions tend to respond more quickly to treatment than chronic illnesses.


What can I expect during my first treatment?

During the first part of the treatment I’ll ask some questions about why you’re coming for acupuncture, as well as taking your medical history. If your main complaint is muscular in nature or a problem with your joints then I may examine that area. Then I’ll take your pulses and look at your tongue.

After this I’ll put together a treatment plan based on your individual needs. The first treatment tends to be very gentle and relaxing and is a nice introduction for those who haven’t had acupuncture before.


What style of acupuncture do you practice?

I use two styles of acupuncture during treatment – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Five Element Acupuncture. By combining the two styles this gives a well rounded treatment of body, mind and spirit.


What should I wear?

Loose, comfortable clothing is preferable for treatment so I can easily get to acupuncture points around the knees and elbows. If this isn’t possible then a treatment gown and blanket will be provided to keep you warm and comfortable.


Is it just needles or do you use other techniques?

I use other techniques during treatment such as cupping, moxibustion and guasha. For more information on these methods of treatment check out my post “Cupping, moxibustion and gua sha“.


Any advice for before and after treatment?

I always recommend to have a light meal before you come otherwise you may end up feeling slightly faint. Preferably no caffeine or alcohol before treatment.

After treatment (if possible) go home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and let the acupuncture keep working it’s magic. Avoid alcohol and stimulants for the evening.


What can acupuncture treat?

I’d be here forever if I started listing all the conditions that acupuncture and Chinese medicine can treat. Below are links to the British Acupuncture Council website  explaining how acupuncture helps treat these specific conditions.




Back Pain












Rheumatoid Arthritis


These are just a few of the conditions that acupuncture can help with. Find the full a-z list of conditions here.


If any of those sound like something you’re struggling with why not call me for a chat or book an appointment today!


Should I tell my doctor I’m having acupuncture?

I think it’s always worth letting your doctor know when you start a new therapy or change your diet. That being said, doctors are often happy for their patients to have complementary therapies and even refer their patients to acupuncturists.

A lot of people come for acupuncture in the hopes of decreasing their medication so it would be helpful if you could bring a list of your medication with you and we can discuss this during the course of treatment.


Your question not answered here? Contact me using the form below for more information.