FAQs - Please click on each question below to see a detailed answer!

How can I find a qualified acupuncturist?

Contact the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) at their website:
The BAcC maintain common standards of education, ethics, and discipline, throughout the profession

How can I find a Qualified Herbalist?

Contact The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM). The RCHM maintain common standards of education, ethics, and discipline, throughout the profession. Most members of RCHM will have been in training for at least five years and have graduated from an RCHM affiliated school which meets the criteria for the minimum standards of theory, clinical experience and western sciences that are required for the practice of CHM in the UK. Applications from practitioners trained overseas are verified by personal interview. For your own safety and peace of mind it is strongly recommended that you only consult an RCHM member and you can get more information from their website:

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Yes in the skilled hands of a qualified practitioner, members of the BAcC all observe a code of practice which only permits the use of single use disposable needles which provides protection against the transmission of infectious diseases. Responses to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness and very occasionally minor bruising may occur. However all such reactions are short lived.

Should my Doctor know?

If you are receiving treatment from your doctor then it makes sense to tell him or her about your plans to have acupuncture. The acupuncture treatment may enable you to reduce or even stop taking some forms of medication, but your doctor should be consulted regarding any change of prescription. You should always tell your acupuncturist about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.

What will happen on my first visit?

Your first consultation may be longer than subsequent sessions. Your general state of health will be assessed, in order to identify the underlying pattern of disharmony and give you the most effective treatment. You will be asked about your current symptoms and your medical history, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state etc. To discover how the energies are flowing in your body, the practitioner is likely to feel your pulses on both wrists, noting their quality, rhythm and strength. The structure, color and coating of your tongue also give a good guide to your physical health. You will be advised what is the best treatment for you, the next steps and course of treatment.

How often will I need treatment?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy each person is considered as unique, and therefore the number of treatments required depends on the individual.

Is it painful?

No, not if performed by a skilled practitioner.

If I am receiving treatment from my doctor, can I still have acupuncture or herbal treatment?

Yes, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are very safe to use alongside your doctor's treatment. It makes sense to inform your GP you are receiving Chinese medical treatment. It is also important to advise your TCM practitioner of any treatment your GP may be giving you.

What are the herbs like?

Herbs are now available in a number of formats both traditional and modern. They could be supplied as the natural raw dried product, as a powder, herbal pills or a liquid etc. The natural dried herb you brew up as a tea to either drink internally or to use as an external wash. The herbs may taste unusual at first to anyone who has not tried them before, but most people will get used to the taste quickly. Preliminary evidence suggests that Chinese herbal medicine is a useful treatment for a wide variety of disorders. Herbs are selected by the practitioner for their energetic properties with the aim of correcting imbalances in the body.

Some or several of these techniques may be used in the course of your treatment. Since TCM is a natural medical treatment, it may take some time to notice the benefits, although the improvement can be very dramatic with some problems.

In the UK only plant-based herbs are prescribed, as it is illegal to include any animal or mineral products. The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine strictly controls herb quality in this country, making herbal products from their approved suppliers safe and of a high standard.

To find out more about the conditions that Chinese herbal medicine can treat visit:


Are Herbs Safe?

Chinese herbs are very safe when prescribed correctly by a qualified practitioner. Over the centuries doctors have compiled detailed information about the pharmacopoeia and placed great emphasis on the protection of the patient. Adverse reactions to Chinese herbs are extremely rare and are negligible when compared to those commonly produced by pharmaceutical drugs. RCHM members give guidance on this to all patients. The RCHM also works with the Bristol Chinese Herb Garden and with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, in building botanical knowledge of high quality herbal medicines.

The majority of the world's population has been using Chinese Medicine as front line medicine since before recorded history. It is still the most widely utilized medical system in the world today.

What conditions can Chinese herbs and Acupuncture help?

Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help most acute forms of ill health but is especially effective with chronic disorders. The results that can be expected and the length of treatment required will depend on the severity of the disease, its duration and the general health of the patient.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published a list of diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved-through controlled trials-to be an effective treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labour
  • Knee pain
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow


Further information on controlled acupuncture trials can be found at the World Health Organisation website

Who can have treatment?

People of any age or constitution including babies, the elderly and pregnant women can use Chinese Medicine. We will take any previous or current illness or medication into account before providing treatment. Chinese Medicine can also be used as preventative medicine.

Is it expensive?

You should enquire about charges when you making your appointment. Many private health insurance companies are now covering acupuncture and a few also pay for herbal treatment, Contact your insurance company to check.