Acupuncture, does it help?

I have found that acupuncture helps my neck stiffness and balance.

Has anybody else found that acupuncture helps them? If it has helped you, which I have been told seems to help a lot of people, why won’t the NHS do it as surley it’s the same cost as physio or drugs?

Hi Em,

It didn’t help me, although I was open to the idea. Luckily, I had a very honest and ethical young acupuncturist, who dissuaded me from continuing indefinitely, as he wasn’t satisfied, himself, it was helping, and I think it would have been all too easy for me not to know when to stop, fearing I just hadn’t given it enough chance. A less scrupulous practitioner might have been happy to keep taking my money.

I don’t think the evidence is conclusive enough for it to be offered on the NHS - at least, not for MS - although I believe it is available in some areas, for some conditions.

I believe, under the NICE guidelines, GPs are allowed to tell MS patients that some have found it helpful - which means there is some evidence - but it stops short of allowing them to refer.

I think it actually made me stressed, because although it does not hurt exactly, I never learnt to relax with the sudden zaps that you get. I don’t think all practitioners aim for that response, but my one firmly believed it was part of the process, and that if he didn’t achieve that, it wasn’t doing anything. He used to be pleased if there was a really big one, because apparently that meant the bad energy, or whatever it is (I forget the exact theory) was being released. But sometimes I used to get a real fright, so it wasn’t very calming or relaxing.


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hi em

i tried acupuncture to help me stop smoking, it didnt work but thats because i’m rubbish at giving up.

i know lots of people who have it regularly, many of whom have ms.

basically em, if you believe it is helping then have some more!

i actually believe that having faith in a treatment is an essential part of the healing.

have to admit, it isn’t very comfortable with a face like a porcupine!!

i kept knocking the needles out because it felt like a spider or something was on my face (there wasn’t).

having said that my ms therapy centre is going to start offering complementary therapies soon so i’ll be trying them.

carole x

acupuncture was something i tried whilst hoping my first relapse symptoms were due to a trapped nerve or similar.

it did nothing for me. luckily the little chinese lady who was stabbing me was honourable enough to refuse me any more appointments after the second one. i was committed to the notion of making at least 10 visits.

however, i can see how the threat of pain from pins can compel you to ‘untense’ those muscles you would otherwise continue to be oblivious of and thus, continue to abuse.

i think for localised pain and similar consequences of MS symptoms, acupuncture / pressure would be beneficial.

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Very intersesting, I have it as my neck gets tense and if I massage it I feel like I will pass out, acupuncture seems to un knot the tension which then seems to help the balance.

Like you all seem to say, it works for me but I have to pay for it, which seems unfair!

Since I posted, I’d discovered in passing that it’s common types of lower back pain that NICE say may be treated with acupuncture on the NHS.

Apparently, this was the first ever example of “alternative medicine” receiving a NICE endorsement, but it’s still not blanket approval to use it in conditions like MS.



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I feel like I’ll be battered for saying this, but my GP does it - I saw him years ago privately for migraines and it now turns out he’s my GP. He said he learnt about it as he wanted to be able to offer something more :wink: No major noticeable help to MS but I only had 1 session, I might need to try again tho, my walking was hideous straight after BUT that’s nothing unusual with accupun.!

Sonia x

Takes about 2 sessions but defiantly helps my neck and balance. I only have about 6 lesions.

i only go when it’s starting to get bad but seems to keep the problems at bay for a couple of months

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My GP actually does do acupuncture. - l watched a series on BBC2 - a few years ago - they were testing alternative/complimentary medicines. And acupuncture was proven to work. They put someone in a MRI scanner and gave them acupuncture - and they could see the part in the brain ,that deals with pain , was reacting. Reflexology also proved to be successful. lt was homeopathy that failed all the investigations.


Just seems a shame that if something helps it should be made available on the NHS

Nothing to do with MS, but almost thirty years ago I was treated with electro acupuncture for dependency on a prescription drug. This was at an NHS clinic in England. I had struggled to get off the drug on my own, but after regular treatment for about three or four months, along with a very gradual reduction in the dosage, I was off the pills for good. Wonderful!

It required some discipline. I had to motivate myself to attend five or six times a week, which could be a struggle, but I usually got there.

Did the electro acupuncture work, or was it a placebo effect? I don’t know, and I don’t care; whatever it was - it worked!

I’m not sure if the NHS offers this treatment for dependency any more, but would certainly try it for pain. It had no side-effects.


Ask your GP - you can get -l think- 6 sessions on the nhs. They will know of a practitioner who does acupuncture.

I can get about 6 sessions but then you have to wait 6 months before you can apply for more!

its not like I need it every week but the odd top up every month would help, ask the only way to do that is to pay £45 a session

Do you have an MS Therapy Centre locally? The charges are significantly lower and they have the advantage of being used to treating MSers.

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Not sure whammel, but I will look into it. Thanks for the tip.

I had acupuncture for something like a year, a bit after I was first diagnosed. At first I had two sessions a week, then went down to one a week, then one every fortnight. It did nothing for me - in fact, I improved a bit after I stopped (but that might have been a coincidence). My acupuncturist was very nice and I was having a stressful time so talking to him for an hour was a bit like having counselling. I think that’s partly why I carried on for so long. The acupuncturist never asked if I felt it was helping and he was very clear that I didn’t have to believe in it, it would do me good without me believing.

As far as improving my MS went, my acupuncture was a complete waste of time and money. The ideas behind acupuncture also seem erroneous to me. I don’t believe it should be offered on the NHS, unless it can be shown to help people with MS in a proper, large, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.