Acupuncture, the facts

We have discussed acupuncture and its incredible benefits before, but the one question that we get asked frequently is ‘does it hurt?’

So, we turned to Colette Assor, LicAc MBAcC, a highly experienced and dedicated Acupuncturist with 20 years clinical experience to tell us what actually happens when you have acupuncture.

How Acupuncture works

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is a complete system of health care used in the east for thousands of years. Acupuncture adopts a holistic approach to healthcare treating both mind and body.

Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system, influencing the production of the body’s communication substances – hormones and neurotransmitters.

So put it simply acupuncture works on the brain to influence the hormone system.

The resulting biochemical changes activate the body’s self-regulating homeostatic systems, stimulating its natural healing abilities and promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.

Acupuncture is also shown to Increase blood flow to the reproductive organs therefore influencing ovarian function.

Acupuncture is used regularly to alleviate anxiety symptoms by increasing serotonin and other feel good chemicals and is a great treatment for stress and anxiety.

The benefits of acupuncture

Research published in the British Medical Journal concluded that acupuncture alongside IVF can increase the odds of a clinical pregnancy by 65%. Acupuncture works to calm the nervous system, reduce stress and anxiety and may benefit fertility by regulating hormones. In some studies acupuncture has shown to stop muscularuterine contractions. Most importantly acupuncture is a wonderfully relaxing treatment to receive, and can be very helpful in managing side effects of medication. Some research does show women who are less stressed may have a better chance of conceiving.

Will it hurt?

Many new patients say they have avoided trying acupuncture because
They “hate needles” or are afraid it will cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. This could be a logical concern if your only experience with needles has been through injections or giving blood.

Unlike the hollow-core needles used in those situations, acupuncture needles do not take anything out of or insert anything into the body. They are therefore much, much, thinner (as thin as a strand of hair) and very flexible. As a British Acupuncture Council member the needles used are sterile, single use, surgical stainless steel needles that slip easily and comfortably between the tissue to activate the acupuncture point.

What does it feel like?

A variety of sensations can be felt but you should never feel pain. Most people often say to me “are they in yet?” The needles are so fine that most people feel generally a mild tingle or a dull ache. Most patients report a feeling of deep relaxation and wellbeing and often share that evening they had the most wonderful deep sleep. I have patients who come to me way after having IVF just for relaxation! So really nothing to worry about and no it should not hurt.

Is it safe?

The answer is yes if you see a properly trained professional. The British Acupuncture Council is the leading regulatory body of Acupuncturists in the UK. All BAcC Acupuncturists have completed 3,600 hours, degree level training in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisationand follow a strict code of ethics and professionalconduct. BAcC members are on the voluntary register of Professional Standards Authority of Health and Social Care giving you added peace of mind. You can trust you are in safe hands.

What will happen at my first visit?

At your first visit you will be asked lots of questions about your medical history, western medical diagnosis and information and general health. Questions asked will relate to your diet, sleep patterns, exercise and digestion. Each person is treated individually and a treatment plan is drawn up to meet your specific needs. It is always best to wear lose clothing for example a track suit, however if this is not possible it is still absolutely fine. Acupuncture points used can be on the feet, legs, abdomen, arms, back and ears. Ear acupuncture is a wonderfully relaxing experience and clinically shown to relieve stress and anxiety. Most people find acupuncture very calming and often report a feeling of deep relaxation and wellbeing after a session. You may feel a little tired or sleepy and should take this into account if you are planning to drive or use heavy machinery straight after your session. You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest.

Colette Assor LicAc MBAcC,is a highly experienced & dedicated Acupuncturist with 20 years clinical experience practising in North London. Colette sits on the governing body of the Acupuncture Fertility Network. The AFN is a professional special interest group for acupuncturists dedicated to supporting those with fertility issues. All members have completed post graduate training in gynaecology and fertility.

Have you had acupuncture? Let us know how it made you feel. Drop us a line at

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