IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?
The short answer? It depends who is giving the acupuncture and how well they were trained. A fully trained acupuncturist has undergone a minimum 4yrs acupuncture training to be a qualified acupuncturist registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) as an acupuncturist. We suggest you always ask any practitioner who wants to needle you (this even includes other health professionals with important sounding letters after their name and whose main training is in another modality – ie; not acupuncture) what training they have undergone and if it was less than 4yrs training in acupuncture specifically then there is a good chance they may have only undergone brief studies, sometimes only for days or weeks. Would you trust someone who attended a weekend course in car maintenance and now refers to himself as a ‘mechanic’ to fix your car’s brakes?
At HOFH we only use only single-use, sterile & disposable needles. Individuals respond differently to all forms of treatment (this does include western medicine & pharmaceuticals) and have the potential for adverse events (see below).
Qualified experienced practitioners know how to modify acupuncture treatment for pregnancy and also to avoid particular acupuncture points which are known to be contra-indicated in pregnancy. A recent large systematic review concluded that if adverse events do occur during acupuncture in pregnancy, they appear to be largely minor.
Should this be of concern to you please consult with your practitioner to find out more. We are all members of Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA).
IS DRY NEEDLING DIFFERENT TO ACUPUNCTURE?
No. ‘Dry needling’, also known as ‘myofascial trigger points’ or ‘trigger point needling’ – are actually techniques that have been described in both classical and contemporary Chinese medical literature. Trigger points are referred to in these texts as ‘Ashi Points’. The first reference to Ashi Points – which literally translates as ‘Ah yes!’ – was by Sun Simiao in his book Qian Jin Yao Fang (Thousand Ducat Formulas) in 652A.D.. – over 1300 years ago.
This is not a ‘new technique’ that was developed in the 1930s. But the title ‘dry needling’ was invented by western trained practitioners who believed Chinese medicine terminology sounded too ‘mystical’. ‘Dry needling’ is essentially a term that is used to describe a technique that has been used in Chinese medicine acupuncture for over 2000 years. A properly trained Acupuncturist knows how to needle Ashi Points effectively.
The above material was extracted from this excellent blog post written by one of our esteemed colleagues: Dry Needling or Acupuncture – What’s the Difference?
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
We use very fine needles and while you may experience a brief prick when the needle is first inserted, once the needles are in you should not experience any pain. You may feel a dull ache while the needles are on particular points in your body.
People do not use the word ‘pain’ to describe this sensation. Acupuncture treatment should be calming and relaxing. It is essential that you let us know if you are uncomfortable.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO COME?
How frequently and how many acupuncture treatments are required varies widely depending upon your individual circumstances. Factors we take into account include the duration & intensity of your illness, your age, constitution and your desired health goal as well as how well you respond to the treatment. Initially you might need to come more regularly, after which you would start to come less often until your condition is under control. From there some people pop in every so often for a ‘top-up’ treatment or two occasionally if they notice their ‘early warning signs’ starting to manifest. Please call us on 02 9560 1100 with specific queries.
Leading a healthy lifestyle will make your treatment more effective and long-lasting. This means eating well, exercising regularly, balancing work and play, addressing emotional/psychological/spiritual unease, getting sufficient sleep and cultivating a happy outlook. You could receive the best Acupuncture in the world then go out and trash yourself, so undoing all the good work we have done. This is about learning how to care for & take responsibility for yourself.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF IT IS WORKING?
While it may take a number of treatments before you see results in terms of any symptoms you brought in to have treated, most people feel relaxed from the first treatment. For some patients this may last several hours and sometimes even several days.
Most people experiencing acupuncture treatment for the first time are surprised to discover how relaxing it is and may report that they have a ‘greater sense of well-being’. Some of our clients feel the need to rest for a while after their treatment, while others may experience high energy. Both of these responses are common – your body is adjusting to treatment. Try to give yourself permission to listen to your body, this will help assist positive treatment outcomes.
As your treatment plan progresses and your treatments have gained momentum you should start to notice positive changes such as for example, a reduction in the severity/frequency of your symptoms, a greater sense of ‘well-being’, improved sleep/appetite/digestion, less anxiety, to name just a few.
If you are receiving treatment for women’s health you should be noticing positive changes as your treatment progresses, for example: your periods may become more regular, less painful, etc as your treatments progress.
This kind of treatment is an exercise in self-awareness, you are encouraged to pay more attention to your body and let us know what changes you are experiencing.
CAN I CLAIM PRIVATE HEALTH FUND REBATES?
If your level of cover includes Acupuncture &/or Chinese Herbs, then you will be able to claim.
Bring your membership card along with you, we have Hicaps.
The recent changes in regard to health funds and some natural therapies do not affect Acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine.
Clarkson C, O’Mahony D, Jones D. Adverse event reporting in studies of penetrating acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015 May;94(5):453-64
Macpherson H, Thomas K, Walters S, Fitter M. The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34,000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists. BMJ. 2001;323:486–7
White A, Hayhoe S, Hart A, Ernst E. Adverse events following acupuncture: prospective survey of 32,000 consultations with doctors and physiotherapists. BMJ. 2001;323:485–6
Witt CM, Pach D, Brinkhaus B, Wruck K, Tag B, Mank S, Willich SN. Safety of acupuncture: results of a prospective observational study with 229,230 patients and introduction of a medical information and consent form. Forsch Komplementmed. 2009;16:91–7