What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a tradition of healing developed in China. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points of the body. The needles may also be stimulated by a mild electric current or heat.

If a person is nervous about needle or a child, acupuncture can be done using a laser.

How does acupuncture work?

Chinese medicine is based on the belief that the body has natural energy, or Qi, which runs in channels (also known as meridians) throughout the body. Some of these channels are close to the surface while some are deep in the body and may go through organs such as the lungs and liver. In a state of ill-health or pain, the channels become blocked or the energy may be deficient or over abundant. Acupuncture works by rebalancing the body's natural energy.

What can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture can treat a wide range of conditions. These include:

  • Pain - back pain, sciatica, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, arthritis
  • Stress
  • Headaches including migraines
  • Sinus and hayfever
  • Gynaecology including painful or irregular periods and endometriosis
  • Infertility (male and female) and IVF support
  • Pregnancy support and inducement of labour
  • Menopause symptoms
  • Prostate issues
  • Digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and diarrhoea
  • Chronic diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
  • Depression and anxiety.

All of these conditions are treated at Phoenix Centre for Acupuncture but we specialise in the treatment of pain and stress.

Will I be given supplements as well?

Supplements include vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbs. Not everybody is given supplements. However, if it is considered that they will assist your recovery, they may be recommended for you. In most cases, the supplements will hasten your recovery and may reduce the number of acupuncture sessions you will require. Generally, the supplements that are recommended are available for purchase at the clinic.

What happens at an acupuncture session?

At the initial acupuncture session you will asked to complete a 2 page questionaire which covers life style (such as whether you drink or smoke, exercise and relaxation activities), prior illnesses or surgery, current medication or supplements. Following this, your current health and the condition you wish to have treated will be discussed in detail. This will also include a discussion of you current diet, sleep, stress levels and energy. The area to be treated may also be physically examined to determine any areas of pain or tenderness.

The treatment approach to be used will be discussed with you. The treatment may include: acupuncture with needles, laser acupuncture, electro acupuncture, cupping, use of moxa or heat lamps, herbs or any combination of these. Generally, electro acupuncture and herbs are not used in the first treatment. This is to ensure the treatment approach is not too severe for the patient - acupuncture can wipe a person out if it is applied too strongly.

Any form of treatment you do not wish to have will be noted. For example, if you do not wish to have acupuncture with needles, you can choose to have laser acupuncture. In addition, if you do not wish to lie down, you may choose to have the treatment is a sitting position.

Depending on the treatment used, the acupuncture itself will take up to 30 minutes.

The number of treatments or duration of the treatment cycle and frequency of treatments will be discussed during this appointment.

Supplements such as vitamins, probiotics, digestive enzymes or herbs may also be recommended and are generally available for purchase at Phoenix Centre for Acupuncture.

Will I need to remove all my clothes?

No - you will not need to remove all your clothes. The removal of some clothes may be necessary to get to certain areas of your body (such as your back). Only the minimum of clothing is removed and you will be told at the time of the treatment what clothes - if any - need to be removed. Towels to cover you are available at all times. Please wear loose fitting clothes as it may be necessary for us to roll up sleeves or trouser legs.

How long will it take?

The first session takes at least an hour as a full medical history is taken and the condition to be treated is discussed in detail. Follow up sessions take 30-45 minutes.

How much will it cost?

The first session costs slightly more as it takes longer. Subsequent appointments, even if they are not related to the original condition, cost less.

The costs at the Ballarat clinic are:

  • First Appointment: $100
  • Follow Up Appointments: $80

Supplements are additional to the above prices. They range in price up to $50.

Payment at the time of treatment is required. Eftpos facilities are available.

We do charge a fee for late cancellation of an appointment (that is, cancellation within 24 hours of the appointment) or for not attending an appointment.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments you require will depend on the condition being treated. Very few conditions are fixed by a single treatment - generally, at least 2 treatments are required.

Chronic conditions require a long course of treatment - as a general rule, at least 1 month of treatment for each year you have had the condition. Some conditions benefit from having a number of treatments in a short period of time initially (e.g. 2-3 treatments a week), followed by weekly or fortnightly treatments. Some conditions, such as hayfever, are best treated a certain times of the year with up to a 6 month break between treatment cycles.

Some people are on a maintenance cycle - they come for treatment roughly once a month.

At the time of your first appointment, you will be told roughly the course of treatment you will require. This will include roughly how many treatments and how often you should have them.

What kind of questions will I be asked?

The first appointment will focus on the condition you wish to have treated. This will include detailed questions on when and how it started, your current symptoms and the things that make it feel better or worse. If you have any investigation or test results (such as x-rays or blood tests) please bring them with you.

You will also be asked a range of questions about your general health. These include questions about:

  • Previous illness or surgery
  • Current medication or supplements
  • Sleep
  • Appetite and diet
  • Digestion including bowel motions
  • Current energy and stress levels
  • Women will be asked about their menstrual cycle and any pregnancies
  • Your tongue will be looked at and your pulse will be taken.

Follow up appointments will concentration on the progress of your condition and any new issues that have emerged.

Does it hurt?

Generally, acupuncture doesn't hurt. You will feel a small prick as the needle goes through the skin. Once the needle is in place, you shouldn't be aware of it. If you feel any pain or discomfort, please let this be known as the needle can be adjusted.

Some treatments are uncomfortable or painful. If these treatments are being considered, they will be discussed with you beforehand. You may choose not to have these treatments and a different one can be substituted.

Are there side effects?

Most people do not experience any side effects. The most common side effect is mild tiredness or a feeling of relaxation. People who have not eaten within 2 hours of the treatment may experience light headedness after treatment.

Where pain is being treated, some people feel a temporary increase in the pain before it significantly reduces. This may take place over a period of up to 48 hours.

Cupping may cause discolouration of the skin. The discolouration may be red or black and may last up to 4 days. If you do not wish to have any discolouration, please tell us.

On occasion, a drop of blood may be released as the acupuncture needle is withdrawn or bruising may occur after acupuncture.

Some people experience side effects from supplements such as bloating or diarrhoea. If you are experiencing any unpleasant side effects, stop taking the herbs until you get advice from Phoenix Centre for Acupuncture.

Can I claim on my health fund?

Yes - Acupuncture services provided by Phoenix Centre for Acupuncture can be claimed on your private health fund if you have the necessary level of coverage for a claim. If you are unsure if you have the necessary level of coverage, please check with your health fund.

Supplements cannot be claimed.

Medicare does not apply to acupuncture.

Do you treat Workers' Compensation patients?

Yes - Phoenix Centre for Acupuncture provides acupuncture services to Worker's Compensation patients. Patients should check to ensure that their insurer does not require a doctor's referral to the acupuncturist.

A few insurers require acupuncture to be provided by a medical practitioner. Phoenix Centre for Acupuncture cannot provide this service.

When are you open?

The Ballarat clinic is open Monday to Friday by appointment only.