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Q. Is there a therapist in Exeter or close by who deals in infertility and discomfort  associated with Hughes syndrome and Sjogrens syndrome.


A. I am afraid that the BAcC doesn't make individual recommendations. From our perspective all of our members are able to work with anyone seeking their help. This is a commitment to what we call 'generalism', and in fact in ancient China the generalists were held in higher esteem than specialists who were seen to be limited!
However, the BAcC realises that many of its members undertake specialist postgraduate training in areas such as paediatrics and obstetrics, and is looking at how to accredit this training in such a way that people who focus their work on groups with specific needs can be identified as such and advertise the fact that they do. This is still some way from final agreement.
The best short term solution is to speak to members based in the Exeter area and ask their advice on who it is best to see. Most local networks are very clear about who in their number focuses their work on infertility issues and are usually happy to make personal recommendations.


There are no set rules. The majority of practitioners in the BAcC see patients once a week, occasionally twice a week, but it is not unknown in China for someone to have a course of ten treatments on a daily basis. This is particularly the case with acute conditions, and there are occasions where a patient will be advised to attend the clinic two or three days in a row to bring more acute problems under control.
Just as there is a problem with treating too infrequently, over-treating can be an issue. Most practitioners use the analogy of cleaning out a pond. If you take all the rubbish off the bottom the water becomes cloudy for a few days, and you need to let it settle before you can properly assess what change you have achieved.


Q. I was wondering how I would go about finding a dentist in my area who practices acupuncture?


I have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and as such local anaesthesia is ineffetive on me which is a real problem for any dental procedures. I was therefore was hoping to try and find a dentist who used acupuncture-based analgesia.

A. The best option is to contact the British Dental Acupuncture Society whose details can be found at
There  are now a significant number of dentists who use acupuncture as an adjunct in their dental treatment, and you should be able to locate someone from their list local to you who can provide the appropriate guidance and advice.

Q. My father has post stroke pain ,  please can you tell us if there is any scientific evidence that acupuncture is helpful for patients suffering from post stroke pain.  our reason for asking this is that we are in the process of challenging our local hospital that is refusing him treatment. Many thanks.


A. The short answer is 'no'. Scientific evidence of a kind which satisfies the current gold standard of western research, the randomised double  blind control trial, is in short supply. This, however, is mainly a methodological problem; the practice of traditional acupuncture does not lend itself to standardisation and reducing variables. A review paper on the current evidence for the use of acupuncture after stroke can be found on our website here
Although the evidence for the use of acupuncture is not accepted in the West acupuncture is very widely used in China and the Far East for assisting in recovery after stroke. It is not unusual for someone who has had a stroke to receive a course of treatment almost immediately after the initial stage of recovery has passed, and the accepted wisdom is that the earlier treatment starts, the more effective it will be. This does not always work so well in the West, where many patients turn to acupuncture only after conventional methods of treatment are not working as well as they had hoped, and the delay in starting acupuncture treatment may make it less effective.
You say that your father's hospital is refusing him treatment, but it is not clear whether this is because they doubt the effectiveness of acupuncture and will not fund it or whether this is because they have concerns about the treatment itself. If it is the former you may well have a struggle to convince them. Evidence based on clinical trials is very much the determining factor. If it because of uncertainty about the safety of treatment the Council has on many occasions been happy to provide evidence that acupuncture in the hands of a properly trained practitioner is extremely safe.


Q. My husband has had severe tinnitus for 3 years. He has had an MRI, CAT scan appointments with the ENT hospital with no relief.He has tried cranial osteopathy, and a Chinese acupuncturist but this didn't help either. The last course of treatment with the osteopath was about 6 months ago and the acupuncturist over a year ago. He would like to try acupuncture again please can you recommend someone with experience in tinnitus. He doesn't mind travelling to see the right person.



A. Tinnitus is one of the more intractable conditions which people seek acupuncture treatment for. Our Tinnitus fact sheet, found at lists a small amount of research which suggests that acupuncture may help, but there have been no significant trials which provide solid evidence. It is also fair to say that many practitioners are very cautious about taking on patients for whom tinnitus is the primary problem. As we can see from your husband's history of treatment, it is quite easy to spend considerable time and money and be no better off than when you started, and the individual case reports in the tinnitus sufferers' magazines often have the same shape.


We are not aware of any member who specialises in the treatment of tinnitus. However, what many practitioners do find when treating people with tinnitus is that while the noise remains largely unchanged their ability to cope with it seems to improve. Evidence for this is largely anecdotal, though, and it would be wise to discuss carefully with any future practitioner whether they think that they might be able to help. In all events we would recommend that frequent and regular reviews of outcomes and progress are essential.

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