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 Interestingly enough, the issue of treating children is very much a live one in the BAcC at the moment. Our members have always treated children, but over the years there has been an increasing recognition that children are not the same as little adults. Specialist courses have developed, and the BAcC has now recognised that there are expert levels of practice which might entitle a member to advertise themselves as an expert in treating children. The guidelines which will underpin this are not quite ready for publication, and so at this point we cannot give out the names of members who might meet these standards.

 However, if you use google with your location, 'acupuncture' and 'children' we are fairly confident that you will quickly identify someone local to you who has undertaken specialist postgraduate training. That is not to say that the ordinary BAcC member cannot treat children, only that someone who makes the treatment of children a focus in their practice is likely to have greater experience about dealing with children and recognising the patterns of disease unique to children.

Using google will also very rapidly identify the two or three major course providers for paediatric acupuncture, and some of these provide drop down lists of practitioner by area.

It is also commonly held view in the profession that skin problems are particularly benefited by herbal medicine, and finding someone with this additional string to their bow might be an advantage. Our members are often very helpful at directing prospective patients to members within their area whom they know personally and trust as experts in their field, and if all else fails you could almost certainly get a good steer from a practitioner local to you.

This remains the best advice that we can offer. We have checked the research databases to see if anything further has been published than the studies reported in our factsheet

but the evidence is a little thin. However, it would be fair to say that the trials which have taken place are not always accurate reflections of how we treat people, so the fact that results are not that impressive doesn't surprise us.

We often find that there are complex reasons for someone having eczema, but the crucial thing is finding something which breaks the cycle leading to a flare-up. If this can be done then it can stop the feeling that once it appears a little it will become a full-blown attack, as the worry of a possible recurrence can sometimes do.

We hope that you manage to track down a suitably qualified practitioner. In our experience children are great responders; if treatment is going to work it usually does so quickly.


We are sorry to hear about your experience. We tend to the view that most adverse effects of treatment are transient, and we tend to advise patients that the next 48 hours could see some reactions, especially after a first session. If the person is highly sensitive to treatment, then this can extended a little further, but certainly there should be no continuing reaction after a week.

What happens after that will depend on the practitioner. We are all able to tone down the strength of treatment by using fewer needles, gentler insertions or less manipulation of the needle, and a sensitive practitioner will treat with great caution when he or she gets feedback like this. If the reaction kicks off while you are being treatment common sense suggests that the treatment proceeds slowly to ensure that you don't feel sedated. First treatments can often be more likely to generate side effects, especially if they unlock blockages in areas like the lower back, and subsequent sessions are rarely as disconcerting.

Of course, the other interpretation is that the vertigo is not connected to the treatment itself but has arisen independently. With over 4 million treatments in the UK each year there could well be times when a problem appears alongside treatment, even alongside transient side effects of treatment, and have nothing to do with the treatment itself. Dizziness and vertigo 48 hours after a session would be very unusual, and if this continues into the next few days you need to get this checked out with your GP. It may be a sign of a contingent infection affecting your inner ear, but it is important not to assume that it is acupuncture-related and wait to see what happens. If it something which would have made you see a GP if you hadn't had acupuncture then you should head off their as soon as possible to find out what is happening.

We hope that by the time you receive this the side effects will have subsided, and if so, we hope that the treatment of your lower back pain is successful. Many people get very good results from acupuncture for lower back pains, and even the NICE guidelines until recently recommended this as one of the better treatment options.


We are sorry to hear of your continuing problems.

As far as direct physical damage is concerned we would be very surprised if the acupuncture treatment could have generated adverse effects like these which continue for a couple of years. The key factor here is that the temple pains are bilateral. A practitioner might get unlucky and cause irritation of a nerve on rare occasions  but to do so with a range of points over all parts of the head would require someone to be using excessively powerful needle insertions on all occasions. In our experience if someone was doing this the pains would be immediate and unmistakable.

However, one can never rule anything out completely, and the one rare possibility is that the needles have been manipulated vigorously and caused bruising which has formed local scar tissue which in turn is impinging some of the local nerves. This is something which you could discuss with your GP, and possibly also have some bloods taken to see of there is anything in your clotting factors which predisposes you to bleeding with small wounds or cuts.

The other two possibilities are straightforward. One is that the reaction is energetic, and that the treatment has in some way uncovered or created blockages which haven't yet been cleared. This again would be rare. Where treatment generates these kinds of transient adverse effects they tend to last or about 48 hours and then the system returns to the status quo. Two years would be a remarkable length of time, and again the fact that the effect is bilateral tends to make this less likely.

The second possibility is that the discomfort and pain has nothing to do with the treatment but just happened to turn up at the same time in roughly the same place. With over 4 million treatments a year being offered in the UK there are bound to be coincidences, and our main concern when this happens is to ensure that arguments kick off about whether the acupuncture did or did not cause the problem. Our advice is always to see the GP and have the problems checked. This tends to identify the cause and in turn this usually reveals whether the acupuncture treatment has caused the issue.

So, in summary, this is not a normal side effect from treatment, and certainly not this length of time after the treatment. We would recommend that you visit your GP to get inside the system again in order to find out what is going on. Sometimes we recommend that people go back to the practitioner to discuss what they did and for them to assess whether from their perspective there is something they can see which could alleviate the problem, but we have to accept that patients who have suffered adverse effects are reluctant to go back and even more reluctant to have further treatment. However, it remains an option.


We usually filter all our responses via our London Office, but in this case, with the office closed until Monday, it is essential that you get a response immediately. If you're father is a Type 1 diabetic stopping his insulin is putting his life at risk, and he must start taking it again immediately. 

If he feels that the acupuncture treatment he has been receiving has changed his balance in such a way that he can address his diabetes with a lower dose of insulin then that is something he can discuss with his doctor. If the doctor agrees then he can start to reduce his dose. Otherwise he is putting himself in danger.

Our members  are trained never to recommend that someone stops taking an essential medication unless it is with the agreement, and under the direct supervision, of their doctor. We would most probably take action against a member who put a patient at risk for suggesting that they stop taking an essential medication.

We are sorry if this seems a little alarmist but we have seen cases where not taking insulin on time has had serious consequences, and we cannot stand by and do nothing if your father has been advised to do something which has put himself at risk.

In our experience it would be most unlikely for acupuncture treatment to reverse the causes of Type 1 diabetes. For this reason we need to reiterate that your father seeks medical advice as soon as possible.



It is rather difficult for us to comment on the clinical strategies of individual practitioners. Without reference to the notes or the patients themselves we are reluctant to make observations which may be then used to criticise or take issue with a practitioner.

in general, we can say that there has been some research into the use of acupuncture for fibromyalgia, as our factsheet shows

but it is far from conclusive. Our clinical experience is that it can take a very long time for the problem to resolve, and it is almost always a complex presentation involving both physical and emotional issues. When we take on patients with fibromyalgia we are always very clear that it will probably be a long haul, and that progress will be slow.

From this perspective we are a little puzzled about the frequency of your treatment. We would normally only treat someone this often in an acute situation, like a locked back, and this mirrors what happens in China where quite often a course of treatment will involve daily treatment for ten days. Without knowing exactly what your presenting symptoms were we are a little surprised that your practitioner has worked in this way. However, eighteen years of experience means that she may well have hit upon a way that works for her and for her patients, and if so and if her professional judgement is that this is an effective way to treat you, then it is worth sticking with it.

However, we are always very clear with our members that a patient to whom everything has been explained and from whom informed consent is given at every stage is usually a happy patient. We recommend that members review progress with their patients every five to ten sessions so that everyone is in the clear about how things are going. This also gives a patient  a chance to ask questions about what is happening. Good communication is everything!

Perhaps the best thing to do is discuss matters with your practitioner if you are feeling a little uncertain. Our view has always been that a responsible practitioner will always listen to patient concerns. If they don't, then that becomes a factor in deciding whether to continue!


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