The question of consent
As with any other procedure, it is important to make sure that you have the patient’s informed consent before treating him or her. In particular, if you are asked about possible risks you should write down in the notes exactly what you have said. This will be important in any possible subsequent proceedings.
Effects of acupuncture on symptoms
There may be an immediate partial or even complete improvement. This is of course gratifying to both patient and therapist, although very swift improvements sometimes fade away as quickly as they came. Improvement sometimes takes hours or even days to appear, and may then be more sustained.
Some patients become worse for a time (aggravation). Such aggravations may last for a few hours or for two or three days. They often indicate that treatment was too vigorous, although some patients experience them after every treatment, no matter how gentle. They are generally a good sign, and patients should be told this as well as being warned about their possible occurrence.
About 30 per cent of the population appear to be non-responders to acupuncture. The reasons for this are unclear, but the fact has emerged from a number of clinical studies over the years.