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How safe is acupuncture?

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Acupuncture is absolutely safe, what you’ll find is acupuncture’s been around for some 5,000 years. 5,000 years ago things were a little different. The general practitioners worked within a village setting, and each person in the village would have had their own set of needles which was stored in a bamboo cup.

What has changed about acupuncture over 5,000 years?

Well over that time, the actual production of the needles has changed. The shaft of the needle is now surgical steel. And there’s a variety of handles, some are copper wound handles, some are aluminium wound handles, some are plastic, fuel-injected, injection moulded onto the handle.

We might use bamboo cups for some cupping, as in modality of Chinese medicine, but what’s happened in the last 30 years, the needles have been developed to be disposable. So they’re very fine needles; they’re produce in a clean, sterile environment; individually packed or packed in tubes of five generally; and, once used, they are put into a sharps bin, which is then incinerated, so there’s no issues with cross infection.

So you only the needles once?

Only ever once…
We buy our acupuncture packs from a recommended retailer that supplies the needles to registered acupuncturists.

What about infection?

You can wipe the area of skin before inserting the needle. However, this can just move dirt around and actually introduce bacteria to the skin which after inserting a needle can cause problems. Generally if the individual has good hygiene the skin is clean already.

With the modern needles we use come in a sterile packet and they come in a little plastic stopper. This stopper is placed on the skin and we put the needle in. Therefore there is generally no contact with the client and practitioner during this.

Who should I go to for acupuncture?

It is really important to go to someone who is really well qualified. Someone who knows how to use the needles, follows the clean needle protocols and general health and safety.
It is recommended to go to a registered acupuncturist with; The British Acupuncture Council, The British Acupuncture Federation or one of the other bodies that are set up to help clarify training and standards of practice.

If you are going to someone that’s registered how would the process go when they first come and see you?

Generally speaking within a treatment session, the practitioner will start to ask some questions regarding your ailment, your general health and well-being; what’s happening for you right now and that snapshot of today. They will then probably look at the tongue, so they’ll be asking you to put the tongue out. And they’ll take a pulse, which tells them something about the internal layers.

This looks great, who can help me?

We have an amazing acupuncturist Jon – visit his profile here

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