What Does Acupuncture Feel Like? Does It Hurt?

Acupuncture should generally not be painful or unpleasant. It doesn’t feel anything like an injection or blood test. The needles used for acupuncture are very fine. There may be a slight pricking when the needle is inserted, but most people don’t even feel this. Sensations during an acupuncture treatment vary between individuals but are often described as either a dull, numb, buzzing, tingling or heavy feeling in the area(s) needled. The acupuncture needles are usually retained for 10-30 minutes depending on the treatment strategy and most people find it very relaxing once the needles are in place.

See Nick do an acupuncture treatment here

How Long Does a Treatment Take?

An initial ACUPUNCTURE or MASSAGE consultation takes 45-60 minutes and includes detailed history taking and assessment as well as treatment.
Follow up ACUPUNCTURE treatments take 30-60 minutes.
Follow up MASSAGE treatments are available for either 30, 45, or 60 minutes.
An initial HERBAL consultation takes 20-45 minutes and includes detailed history taking.
Follow up HERBAL consultations take 10-20 minutes
The times given above include consultation, undressing & dressing (when required), treatment, and payment time.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

As with all types of treatments the frequency and number of treatments vary according to the nature of the complaint and the individual’s response to treatments. Often weekly acupuncture treatments will be recommended initially for a few weeks and depending on the progress the frequency of treatments lessen, perhaps to a monthly basis until the complaint is solved or better managed. Herbs may be prescribed for a week or two for an acute condition, and commonly from 3 -12 months for more ongoing or chronic issues.

What Is The Difference Between Acupuncture & Dry Needling?

Basically they’re two different terms both describing the insertion of fine needles into the body as a therapy. The important differences lie in the levels of training by the therapist and the levels of complexity in the techniques, the understanding of disease development and the range of applications.

The theory behind and the term ‘acupuncture’ stems from traditional Chinese Medicine and the view that the body and mind is linked through physical pathways, which can be accessed and stimulated through specific points around the body to treat a huge range of complaints. Qualified acupuncturists undergo years of extensive training to be able to apply this fascinating therapy safely and effectively.

‘Dry needling’ is the term used by therapists such as physios, myotherapists, and ostoes to describe the insertion of fine needles (same as acupuncture needles) into muscular trigger points to release muscle tension. These therapists undergo a much smaller amount of ‘needling’ training as part of their overall training within their fields of expertise.

The term ‘acupuncture’ is ‘owned’ by practitioners of Chinese medicine and refers to a much deeper and complex understanding of the applications of acupuncture needles to treat not only muscular tension and pain, but also much more intricate internal complaints such as digestive, mental, gynaecological, and respiratory disorders.

Can Children Have Acupuncture Treatments?

Yes, children including babies can have acupuncture treatments. In fact children often respond  remarkably quick  to treatments and can gain great benefits from acupuncture.

When the children are very young the smallest needles are generally used and the treatment done as quickly as possible. The needles are not retained, as kids tend to move around a lot. Instead the needles are only applied to very few points (maybe only 1 or 2 acupuncture points) and are quickly inserted then taken out. Once the children are older, are better at keeping still and have a better understanding of why they have to keep still, needles can be retained for longer. Usually parents stay with the children during the treatment.

Is It Safe To Have Acupuncture During Pregnancy?

Yes, acupuncture is generally safe during any stage of pregnancy when administered by a qualified practitioner. In fact many common complaints associated with pregnancy, such as nausea, morning sickness, back aches, and oedema can often be helped significantly with acupuncture. Acupuncture may even help turn a breach positioned baby!. Acupuncture is also frequently used in preparing the mother and baby for childbirth later in the pregnancy, and for helping induce labour.

Do I Need To Undress During An Acupuncture Treatment?

This will depend on the complaint you are seeking treatment for. Often only part of your body will need to be exposed, such as your arms and legs. However, for certain complaints, if the acupuncture treatment is combined with massage and/or cupping, or if we are treating your musculoskeletal problems larger areas, such as your back or hip may need to be exposed and we will request you undress down to underwear. This will always be explained and discussed with you at the beginning of your treatment. Professional and appropriate draping with towels is always applied for your optimal comfort and to minimise exposure.

What Is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine involves the prescription of natural substances to nourish, regulate and balance bodily functions.

Over 400 different substances are commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine, many of which you’re probably already familiar with from your kitchen or garden such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, liquorice, dates, dandelion, mint and chrysanthemum. The majority of the substances used come from plants (such as leaves, seeds, twigs, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits), some come from minerals, and occasionally some animal products are used.

At Gardenvale Traditional Chinese Medicine we mostly use granulated herbs. The herbs are mixed into your own individual prescription and are easy for you to prepare at home by dissolving them in boiled water before drinking. Herbs should generally be taken 2-3 times a day.

We also prescribe a range of Chinese patent medicines (such as capsules, cough syrups, oils, and liniments), herbal teas & other products.

Do Chinese Herbal Medicines Contain Animal Products or Endangered Species?

As registered Chinese medicine practitioners we do not use or support the illegal use of any substances derived from endangered species.
Chinese medicine is highly regulated in Australia and we adhere to the strict laws and guidelines relating to the use of animal and plant products that are in place here.
At Gardenvale Traditional Chinese Medicine we only use substances derived from animal products very occasionally. These substances can have great therapeutic effects for certain conditions and may be deemed necessary for satisfactory treatment outcomes. Naturally we would not include any animal products in your Chinese medicine mix if you are vegetarian or otherwise opposed to ingesting animal products.

Is It Safe To Take Chinese Herbs When Taking Other Medications?

In most cases Chinese herbal medicines can safely be taken in conjunction with other medications. However, Chinese herbs can have strong pharmacological effects and should only be taken as prescribed by a qualified practitioner to minimise the risk of adverse effects or any possible drug interactions. It is therefore very important that you inform your Chinese medicine practitioner of any medications and supplements (pre-scribed AND non-prescribed) you are taking, as well as any allergies you have. Usually it is sufficient to take the Chinese herbal medicine separate by a couple of hours from other conventional drugs or supplements.

Can Children Take Chinese Herbal Medicines?

Yes, it’s safe and fine for children to have Chinese herbal medicines prescribed by a qualified practitioner. Dosages will be prescribed according to the age and size of the child.

For more information on Chinese medicine for children read here.


Is It Safe to Take Chinese Herbs During Pregnancy & When Breastfeeding?

It is true some herbal medicines should not be taken during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. However, a qualified practitioner will always take the individual’s circumstances into account and prescribe Chinese herbal medicines that can safely be taken during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. In fact Chinese herbs can be very effective in treating many complaints experienced during pregnancy such as nausea, fluid retention, headaches, constipation and even threatened miscarriage, as well as help with conditions relating to breastfeeding such as mastitis, lack of milk, and weaning.

When To STOP Taking Chinese Herbs?

You should stop taking your Chinese herbal medicine and/or contact your practitioner if:

–       You develop cold or flu-like symptoms

–      You become pregnant

–      You experience any unexpected symptoms

–      You have commenced or altered any prescribed pharmaceutical medications

Do I Need a Referral to Book an Appointment?

No referrals are required to make a booking with one of our practitioners.

If you have any test or scan results from other doctors or practitioners it can be helpful to bring these along to your consultation/treatment.

Can I Claim My Treatment?

Our practitioners are registered providers with most private health funds, of which many offer a rebate for acupuncture treatments and massage. A few funds will also cover herbal treatments. This is subject to the individual health fund and level of cover.
We have HICAPS facilities and can process supported health fund claims at the time of treatment payment.

Are Chinese Medicine Practitioners Government Registered & What Qualifications Do They Have?

The practice of Chinese Medicine in Australia is highly regulated. In Victoria government registration of Chinese medicine practitioners has been in place for many years. Since July 2012 the Chinese Medicine profession joined the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for Health Professions. This is the same scheme that regulates other medical practitioners such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, dentists, nurses, and midwifes. This means all Chinese medicine practitioners in Australia must now register with The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) and meet their high levels of training and qualification standards in order to offer acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatments to the public.
All the practitioners at Gardenvale Traditional Chinese Medicine are government registered with CMBA. They all have high levels of qualifications and have undergone extensive training. For more details please refer to the individual practitioner’s profile:

Nick Conquest

Christina Tolstrup

Robert Whittaker

For more information on Chinese Medicine registration in Australia: CMBA

If you didn’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us