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The cost of treatment varies around the country. In the Greater London area costs for the initial diagnosis session can be in the range of £50-£70, with subsequent sessions costing £30 - £50, whereas in other areas the costs can be as much as £10-£20 cheaper, with the first session costing £40-£50 and subsequent sessions £25-£40.



Most BAcC members are willing to reduce fees if someone is in considerable financial hardship, but this is a matter for each individual practitioner, and not something which the BAcC would require of members.


Each person is unique and different, so it is very difficult to generalise about how much a course of treatment will cost. If the condition is chronic and has existed for several years, it may take longer to encourage a healthy pattern to re-establish itself, whereas short term acute problems can sometimes respond very quickly.


As a general rule of thumb we say to patients that they can expect to have at least four or five sessions, and for the practitioner to review with them at this stage whether the change they have achieved is sufficient and sufficiently sustainable to make further treatment advisable. If the patient at this stage is confident thta things are on the move they can choose whether or not to continue to invest their money in further treatment.

Intermittent earache is a very difficult condition to treat in any system of medicine. There is a wide variety of potential causes, and it's not unusual for people to find that it disappears at the very moment they have a medical appointment to look at it!



The strength of Chinese medicine is that it treats the person, not the illness, and so the signs and symptoms of disease are often seen in a much wider context which makes sense of their unique pattern within the overall theoretical system. On occasions like this it may mean that there are specific treatment protocols which a practitioner might use. Even without a clear pattern emerging there is still the underlying belief that symptoms are merely alarm bells for states of internal disharmony, and traditional treatment was often premised on reinstating balance on a more general basis in the expectation that a system in balance stopped generating symptoms.


The huge range of possible causes means that there is no accepted research that one can point to as evidence that acupuncture is proven for any specific types of earache, although there are many trials from China which are methodologically flawed which suugest that acupuncture may help. Our best advice is that you consult a BAcC member local to you and ask their advice face to face on whether there is something which can be done for your unique presentation. Our members are always happy to assess whether they think someone may benefit, and equally happy to make onward referrals to other forms of treatment if they believe that these are more likely to be effective.

We are not aware of any reason why acupuncture is contra-indicated when someone has had a stent or stents inserted. The only advice we give to members in this area is to avoid using retained needles when someone has had a heart valve replaced and to avoid electroacupuncture if someone has a pacemaker. The second is self-explanatory and the first is because there is a slightly increased risk of endocarditis in people who have had rheumatic heart disease and artificial valves implanted if needles are left in place for a long time.



Acupuncture when performed by a fully qualified and properly trained professional remains an extremely safe procedure.

Q. My Father has a bulging disc in his neck which is pushing against his nerve, which in turn causes him pain down his shoulder and arm when the weather is cold. It's caused his arm to be extremely weak.



Tests have proven nothing wrong with his nerves but its a few discs which are pushing against the nerve causing the problem. Doctors have suggested surgery to replace the discs.


I was wondering if Acupunture is a feasible alternative to surgery? Can you please advise?


A. This is a very difficult question to answer. Generally speaking, when there is a physical change in the structure of the body, it would be foolish to suggest without qualification that acupuncture can correct it. The neck, in particular, is an area where structural changes through wear and tear as someone gets older are very difficult to treat. That said, acupuncture may be able to reduce to an extent any inflammation which is associated with the bulging disc.

In the case of sciatica, for example, which is sometimes caused by a similar problem in the lower spine, there is some evidence that acupuncture may reduce inflammation, as we point out in our fact sheet here


However, it is quite likely, if the doctors are proposing surgery, that things have gone a bit further, and the structural changes may well continue to cause inflammation, even if acupuncture treatment provided some relief in the short term. It would probably not be wise, therefore, to consider acupuncture as an alternative to surgery.

Chinese medicine treats the person, not the disease, however, and regards each person's patterns of energy as unique and different. There may be some merit in seeking advice from one of our members tocal to you who can perhaps see your father and assess whether in his case there is greater reason to feel that acupuncture may provide positive help.

Q. Energy has been a problem for most of my 69 years. I read that acupuncture may help. My GP only uses acupuncture on muscles, & cannot help. My Question is: Does an acupuncturist attend extra training to learn about energy? Are you aware of those who qualify in this acupuncture speciality? Many thanks.


A. We have to be a little careful with our terms here. Traditional Chinese Medicine has a clear understanding of the body, mind and spirit as different forms of 'qi', a word which is very difficult to translate, but which if often described as 'energy', or 'vital life force'. This is seen as the base material of everything, and through its different forms and their inter-relationships, described by using terms such as yin and yang, a complex understanding of the person on all levels is derived. Similar terms such as 'prana' and 'ki' are found in Inidan and Japanese thought. Acupuncture treatment is aimed at improving the flow of qi, removing blockages and sorting out relatuve excesses and deficiencies.



However, this is not quite the same as the 'energy' which people talk about when they say that they 'have no energy'. It's very true that feeling an utter lack of energy can be understood as a a problem with the qi, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is something which a Chinese medicine practitioner can automatically sort out. What it does often mean, however, is that the paradigm of Chinese medicine is sometimes able to make sense of someone's symptoms and lifestyle in a way which is wholly unlike the way that western medicine views the person. The sense of feeling depleted and lacking the energy to do things is described in several of the syndromes and patterns recognised in Chinese medicine. Your best course of action is to seek out a BAcC member local to you and ask their advice on whether your specific and particular patterns are amenable to treatment.

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