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219 questions


Q. I suffer cronic insomnia i canot get too sleep and am awake all night, and i mean all night, i am feeling very worried what is the sucess rate re acupunture, thank you


A. We are sorry to hear of your problem. Insomnia is a great deal more widespread than people think, and the effects on someone's overall health and well-being can be devastating. Our factsheet on insomnia, which you can find on our website under the 'research' button at the top of the home page or by clicking this link is very encouraging about how acupuncture has been used in trials.
The strict advertising rules under which all healthcare practitioners now operate means that we have to be careful not to 'over-claim' the benefits of treatment unless there is accepted and definite proof of efficacy. There are, though, a number of conditions, of which insomnia is one, where many of the small-scale studies and trials show positive indications and where eventually we believe significant large-scale trials will provide hard evidence.
As we repeat in every answer, however, everyone is unique and different in Chinese medicine, so there is no single simple formula treatment for a named condition. Your best way of finding out whether your own case is suitable for treatment is to visit a practitioner lcoal to you and to ask for advice on whether they think they may be able to help you.


Q. Is acupuncture helpful to bells palsy


A. As you can see from our factsheet;view=item&id=1128:bellas-palsy&Itemid=106
the evidence for the successful treatment of Bell's Palsy is not very conclusive. The trials which have been done are not of a very high standard, and their results not all that compelling.
However, it is fair to say that in China the condition is a great deal more common and acupuncture is often used alongside, or occasionally instead of conventional medications, as a form of treatment. The Chinese believe that exposure to cold wind can sometimes trigger an attack, and since a great many people work the land the incidence is much higher. Oddly enough, in the days before air conditioning in cars there were often cases which appeared to have been triggered by high speed driving with the driver's window open. Most often, though, the direct cause is not apparent.
The received wisdom of Chinese medicine is that any condition involving paralysis or rigidity of muscles becomes more difficult the longer after initial onset the treatment begins. Any well-trained practitioner will take this into account before offering a view of the potential success of treatment.

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.


Yes. Acupuncture is one of a number of options which have a proven success in dealing with tension-type headaches in the short-term. Headaches are one of the most common reasons why people consult an acupuncturist in the UK, and while we're still waiting for research into the treatment of migraine headache relief to be accepted as thoroughly reliable, the evidence for tension headaches is well-documented and accepted. Not only can treatment deal directly with the symptoms you experience, but the general sense of well-being and relaxation associated with the treatment can help to reduce and hopefully provide temporary relief of the symptoms.



Many people experience headaches of this nature because of the working patterns of modern life, with the focus on screen-based work and long hours sitting in the same position. Your practitioner will explore with you what practical steps you can take to help the treatment to have the maximum possible benefit.

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