Does acupuncture hurt?
A: Not usually. A dull ache often develops at the point (considered to be a good therapeutic sign) but
needles are so fine that people having treatment for the first time are pleasantly surprised, finding
treatment to be very relaxing and therapeutic.
Do I need to believe in acupuncture in order for it to work?
How will I feel after acupuncture?
A: Usually relaxed and calm. Occasionally you may feel tired or drowsy for a few hours if the treatment
been particularly strong or there may be a short term flaring up of your symptoms as your Qi clears and
What is the difference between the ATCM and other acupuncturists?
A: We understand that there are differences in style and practice of acupuncture outside China, such as
Element acupuncture, triggers points acupuncture or dry-needles. The ATCM registers practitioner members
have an extensive training in Chinese medical theories and Chinese style of acupuncture (irrespective of
prior western medical training) of at least 3 years full-time (or the part-time equivalent) and which
includes the requisite western medical sciences.
What about the needles used?
A: Members use single use pre-sterilised disposable needles, which are disposed of after each treatment.
Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (UK) members observe the Code of Practice which lays down
stringent standards of hygiene and sterilisation of equipment.
Is it safe?
A: All members of ATCM must observe the Code of Practice which defines the hygiene and safety standards
relating to the practice of acupuncture. The Code of Practice is available for download from the 'About
ATCM' section of this site. These procedures have been approved by the Department of Health, and provide
protection against the transmission of infectious diseases.
Can I get cross infection from acupuncture?
A: The acupuncture needles are always sterilised before use. To eliminate any possibility of getting
or other infectious diseases, disposable needles are preferable. Such needles are used once only and
disposed of safely.
Can I donate blood after have acupuncture treatment?
A: ATCM’s Code of Practice Item 6 stated:
6. The following equipment, all of which must be CE-marked and conform with current Medical Devices
legislation and EEC Directive 93/42/EC, must be used for safe and hygienic practice:
a) single-use pre-sterilised disposable solid needles (reusable needles are not acceptable)
b) guide-tubes which, if used, must be pre-sterilised, come packaged with each individual needle or set
needles, and must not be used or stored for use beyond the treatment session in which the seal on the
package has been broken
c) plum blossom needles (‘Seven Star Hammers’) which, whether plastic or stainless steel, must be
pre-sterilised and single-use only
d) glass cups which have been properly washed and stored
e) single-use paper tissues, paper towels, and couch roll
f) disinfectants, including pre-packed 70% isopropyl alcohol swabs
g) sterile cotton wool and non-sterile cotton wool/buds
h) sharps box conforming to BS 7320:1990 and clearly marked 'Danger - Contaminated Needles - To Be
Incinerated' adjacent to the treatment surface and placed at a convenient height on a stable surface
i) a First Aid kit complying with current Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations containing a
supply of suitable bandages, dressings, antiseptic creams and plasters
j) disposable surgical gloves.
It is our basic requirement that all members while practising acupuncture treatment must comply with
rules so as to avoid any possibility of cross infection. Based on the above rules, ATCM has printed a
certificate for patients who need to use. However, whether or not this proof certificate will be
local blood donation centre, we advise you to contact them directly.
How is a Chinese herbal medicine prescription constructed by a practitioner?
A: Based on the overall symptoms a patient has, which includes the state of illness, the patient's sex,
and constitution, occurring season of the disease and circumstances, the physician begins with the
guidelines as delineated in classical texts to form a basic prescription and then adjusts the mixture to
patients needs by adding or deleting various herbs, or manipulating the dosages of the compounds to fit
precise disharmony. Such a prescription usually contains 5-15 substances and the dosages average 3-15
Is there any type of prepared Chinese medicine available?
A: Yes, there are many types of prepared Chinese herbal medicine available in the form of decoction,
ointment, powders, etc... An alternative to raw herbs, in which you need to make tea-like drinks to
concentrated herb powders which you can also take without making up a drink.
What is it used to treat?
A: Most conditions apart from those requiring immediate western medicine intervention and serious
degenerative disease although it can be used to subsidise and complement Western treatment, enhancing
patient's quality of life. Acupuncture clinics tend to treat chronic ailments for which there is no
conventional cure, such as migraine, chronic muscle and joint pain, asthma & allergies, IBS and other
digestive system problems, PMS and menopausal issues and other gynecological problems, but the therapy
also be used to treat acute conditions such as flu and colds and other viral or bacterial infections.
How much treatment do I need?
A: This depends on how long you’ve had the problem, how ‘deep’ or serious the problem is, and on age and
constitution. A muscle problem such as tennis elbow may only need one or two sessions but if it’s been
you for months it will be harder to tackle because more muscles will probably become involved. An
such as ME or Rheumatoid Arthritis will require long term treatment because many different aspects of
functioning of the body have become involved - the illness is much more complex.
Who can take Chinese medicine?
A: Chinese Herbs can be taken by all age groups from young babies to the elderly, though you must notify
your practitioner if you are also taking other medicines, suffer from allergies, other conditions or are
pregnant as this may effect your treatment and prescription.
How long and in what form will I take the herbal medicine?
A: Traditionally, Chinese Herbs are made up into teas or decoctions. This involves boiling the herbs in
water for half an hour or more. The patient will receive detailed instructions on the method of
Capsules of raw herbal powder, concentrated extracts and pills are also prescribed. A typical course of
treatment would involve taking a herbal formula daily for several months, depending on the nature of the
case and the strength of the patient. The patient will be monitored regularly to ensure that the formula
effective and modified as improvements occur.
Should I continue with my prescribed medication while undergoing a course of Chinese medicine or
A: Yes. Many people seek the help of Chinese medicine or acupuncturist because of dissatisfaction with
treatment, mainly because it does not seem to be working or the side effects are too severe. DO NOT stop
taking any medication without professional guidance.
What happens if I'm unhappy with the standard of treatment I've received from my CHM
to make a complaint?
A: If that is the case, we will do our best to help you but first we need to find out if the
you are seeing is registered with the ATCM. (Bear in mind, there are practitioners who practise Chinese
medicine and acupuncture, and they do not register with any profession organizations). If the
you are going to complain about is registered with ATCM, please let us have the practitioners’ details
as full name and clinic address. We take any such complaints very seriously and we can assure you that
matter will be dealt with fairly and efficiently by our Ethics and Conduct Committee.
I am concerned about the use of endangered species in Chinese herbal medicines.
A: The ATCM has always condemned the illegal trade in endangered plant and animal species, and our
are subject to strict rules which prohibit the use of any such material.
Is Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) Experimental?
A: Some people think all Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) are experimental. Therefore, they
deem Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) to be experimental too. This, however, is a misunderstanding about
and has been proved to be very wrong. Let's look at the following facts.
Clinically, CHM has been practiced directly on the human body for thousands of years, which is much
than Western Medicine. Compared to CHM, it is the Western Medicine that is primitive and experimental on
Through thousands of years of clinically practice, CHM has successfully treated millions of patients.
number is much larger than any experimental clinical trials required.
CHM efficacy has been proved through thousands of years of spreading of CHM practices from China to
from Asia to Europe, Australia, America, Africa, etc. This growing popularity among patients around the
world is the best testimonials for its efficacy.
Because CHM is a natural medicine, it is much safer than Western Medicine. This has been proved from the
thousands years of practices too.
Chinese Medicine medical schools issuing the CMD degree are the first and probably the only medical
in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) that are listed in the World Health Organization (WHO)
Directory of Medical Schools together with the Harvard Medical School, Yale Medical School, etc. Type