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Q. I'm extremely interested in having facial/cosmetic accupuncture, I have reserached it feel it would be of huge benefit to me. However as I am on a low wage I wanted to know if there were any accredited accupuncture schools that could offer low cost, safe treatments done by the students? Please advise.


A. A number of the acupuncture teaching institutions offer low cost treatment for patients attending their student clinics, but we are not aware at this stage of any teaching institution which offers facial or cosmetic acupuncture as a part of its core curriculum. It may be possible to ask if this can be offered, however, and a full list of institutions accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board can be found at


Facial acupuncture/cosmetic acupuncture is something of a lively debating point within the profession at the moment. There is no doubt that it is popular, and many BAcC members attend postgraduate training courses to learn some of the special techniques involved. However, the consensus appears to be that it is best used in conjunction with treatment of the person as a whole, and that some of the underlying causes of the problems which manifest on the face need to be addressed as well.


There are now a number on non-acupuncturists being trained in and using the techniques of cosmetic acupuncture, and we have concerns, as we do with any short courses, about the standards of safe practice involved in this treatment. If you do choose to go ahead with treatment, we recommend that you check carefully what other primary training the person offering the treatment has. You also need to be aware that there is no agreed standard for this kind of treatment, and any claims that someone's training has been endorsed or accredited need to be examined with care.

The evidence from trials of acupuncture for urgency and frequency of urination are relatively positive, although the best evidence comes from studies in children and people who are recovering from a stroke. Balance is a different matter. There are a great many reasons why someone's balance may have been lost, ranging from neurological problems and minor infarcts (small strokes) in the brain to problems with the inner ear and occasionally something as trivial sounding as crystalline particles affecting the movement of the little hair-like sensors in the tubes of the inner ear. Research would have to be targeted on a specific cause, and it would be unwise to pass comment drawing on available research without knowing what the likely cause was.



From a Chinese medicine perspective there are some very well-defined syndromes which take the descriptions which patients give of their balance and urinary problems and make sense of them within the overall functioning of the body. In some cases there are distinct treatment protocols which have been developed over centuries to try to address these problems, and the trained practitioner will look for conformation from the signs which they observe in the pulse and tongue, as well as other symptoms which to a western medic may appear to be unrelated. Even if there is no clear cut pattern, Chinese medicine was initially premised on the belief that symptoms were only the expression of a complex set of inter-related imbalances in the system, and the practitioner's task was to use his or her skill to interpret the evidence they gathered and set about correcting imbalances in the simple belief that a system in balance does not generate symptoms.


Clearly the best advice is to visit a BAcC member local to you to discuss with them whether acupuncture could be beneficial for your specific case. We hope that they will give you an indicative assessment which will help you to choose what your best treatment options may be.

In a word, no! And there is no evidence base of which we are aware for the use of crystals.



A number of very sincere people use things other than acupuncture needles on acupuncture points, sometimes even using the same Chinese medicine theories to underpin what they do, but acupuncture has survived and developed its reputation on the basis of inserting needles. Anything else isn't acupuncture.

Q. I recently had a trial session of acupuncture with a lady who is a member of the BAcC. She is a qualified practitioner (BSC, LicAC, MBAcC).



I am a regular blood donor, and my next session is due next week. However, I'm unsure whether they will let me donate as I have had acupuncture within the last 4 months. I have phoned the Blood Donor service but they were unable to advise me as they didn't have the BAcC on their 'list'.


A. I'm afraid that as the rules currently stand there is always a deferral period of four months before blood can be donated after acupuncture unless it has been delivered by a statorily regulated practitioner.


The BAcC fought long and hard to avoid this position after the previous certification scheme was dropped in an EU harmonisation programme. We pointed out at length that this meant that BAcC members, who receive years of training in safe practice, were deemed unsafe but an occupational therapist or anyone else on a statutory register could pick up needles and use them with no training, and their patients could give blood. However, SR means that someone's livlihood is at stake if they do not ensure they are properly trained, and this is seen as the best possible incentive to best practice. SR draws a very sharp line in the sand about who is and who isn't 'in.'


We estimate that this decision cost the National Blood Service about 10,000/15,000 regular donors at a time when they were appealing nationally because blood stocks were low.

Our last membership survey in 2011 showed average figures of £50 for a first consultation and £40 for each subsequent session.



However, this doesn't allow for regional variations, and you might expect to pay more in London and possibly slightly less elsewhere. Ranges of £45-£70 for the first session and £30 -£50 for subsequent ones would be 90% accurate.

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