Frequently Asked Questions



Is acupuncture the same as dry needling?

No. There is an important distinction to make between traditional acupuncture and western dry needling.

Dry needling is generally used by physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and GP's and is different to traditional acupuncture, from a diagnostic, and treatment perspective. Dry needling involves the insertion of needles into trigger points in the muscles to help relax them. Mostly, dry needling it taught in very short courses (usually over a few weekends or weeks) and is primarily used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, a small group of mostly physical ailments. Traditional acupuncturists complete 3 – 5 year degrees and the focus of treatment is holistic, helping the patient's overall health as well as just the immediate symptoms. Furthermore, traditional acupuncture always seeks to diagnose and treat the root cause of the ailment.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Acupuncture needles are quickly inserted into the skin, most often without sensation. Sometimes you will feel a slight prick, but nothing to write home about. Once the needle is inserted, it is gently manipulated to elicit a sensation that most patients describe as a mild aching or a dull, heavy, warning and spreading feeling. This is called the arrival of the qi (pronounced chee). During the treatment, most patients are unaware that the needles are inserted, and can lie comfortably and relax.

How many treatments will I need?

This depends on your presenting condition. Some acute conditions (meaning they have just recently started up) need a short and frequent burst of treatments within a week, while others will be sorted out after 1 to 2 treatments. Often more chronic conditions (meaning you have had the problem for a few months or even years), will need more regular weekly treatment. Once a diagnosis is made and I am able to assess your response to a treatment, a more accurate prognosis and treatment duration will be suggested.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture administered by a properly trained doctor using correct procedure is one of the safest medical treatments available. Two surveys conducted independently in the British Medical Journal in 2001 concluded that the risk of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. Needles are wrapped in sterile packaging and are used only once and then disposed of to ensure hygiene and safety. Acupuncturists in the South Africa are regulated by The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa, ensuring the highest standards of training and ongoing development.

How does Acupuncture work and is there evidence?

The British Acupuncture Council's website is a good resource providing information and evidence about the effects and mechanisms of acupuncture, you can click: www.acupuncture.org.uk for more information.

Is acupuncture covered by my medical aid?

All South African medical insurance companies accept acupuncture claims provided you having a savings plan to your medical aid policy. The rates at AcUlife are well within medical rates and will be fully paid for provided you are within your savings threshold.


"Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come. ~ Chinese Proverb