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Acupuncture Information | Physio-Flex Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic

Acupuncture Information

What is acupuncture? 

 Acupuncture has been proven to be an effective tool for painAcupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into various parts of the body to stimulate or relax the body. There are different types of acupuncture: 

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), started in China and can be traced back as far as 1000BC and is based on Qi or energy flow. 
  • Western acupuncture is based on the release of your body’s’ own healing, pain relieving and anti-inflammatory chemicals from the nervous system (endorphins and cortisol). It also involves specific relaxation of muscles and is often referred to as Medical Acupuncture or Dry Needling.  

 Is acupuncture safe? 

 Acupuncture is safe for most people, but it is not suitable for everyone. 

 You will be asked questions about your health to check that acupuncture is safe for you. If you have any risks they will be discussed with you before any treatment is provided. If you are unable to have acupuncture treatment then alternative physiotherapy treatment options are available for you.  

 What happens during the acupuncture treatment? 

 Acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points of the body. Your physiotherapist has been specifically trained to select points that are the most beneficial to treat your pain: they may select points which are close to the painful area or away from it, for example on your hands and feet, and in some cases on opposite sides of the body. 

 The needles are thin, sterile and are used only once, then disposed of into a sharps box, it may be slightly uncomfortable when the needles are first inserted then you may feel a mild ache, numbness, warmth and heavy sensation. This is referred to as ’De Qi’. This is also a sign that the body is reacting positively to the acupuncture treatment. The needles maybe stimulated by a twisting motion at regular intervals throughout your treatment. Treatment can be as little as a few minutes to 10-30 minutes. The number of needles may vary according to your condition and symptoms.  

 The number of treatment sessions will also vary according to your condition, but your physiotherapist will discuss this with you. Typically, 4-6 sessions of acupuncture are recommended. 

Will acupuncture help me? 

Research supports the effectiveness of acupuncture for pain relief and it is therefore used by physiotherapists as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.  About 70-80% of people can be helped with acupuncture treatment. It unfortunately doesn’t help all people and all problems. Physiotherapists are in a unique position of being able to combine acupuncture with other treatment methods such as exercise, manual therapy and relaxation techniques which will maximise your recovery. 

 All physiotherapists at Physio-Flex are AACP (Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists) trained and accredited. Our physiotherapists regularly update their skills to make sure you get the best treatment. We also maintain a high level of acupuncture safety and standards. 

 Does acupuncture have side effects? 

Acupuncture is safer than many drug treatments and side effects are rare. 

Occasionally people may get some adverse post treatment effects –  

Minor bleeding and bruising (3%), Mild pain at needle site (1%), Mild aggravation of symptoms (3%, of which 70-85% show subsequent improvement), Drowsiness after treatment (1%), Dizziness(0.6%), Feeling faint( 0.3%), Nausea (0.3%), Stuck or bent needle( 0.1%), Headache (0.1%), Allergy or infection( up to 0.2%), Pneumothorax (0.0002% / less than 2 per 1 million) 

What can I do to reduce any side effects? 

 To help reduce these after effects you can: 

  • Eat within two hours before your treatment to help maintain your blood sugar levels and blood pressure 
  • Apply a cold compress to reduce pain or bruising 
  • Drink plenty of water to reduce dehydration 
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine for 12 hours as this can cause further dehydration
  • Avoid driving if you feel drowsy or lightheaded 
  • Avoid operating machinery  
  • Rest and relax!   

If you have any concerns regarding the effects of your acupuncture, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01506237770 or email   

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