Haematology outpatients has moved to main outpatients near A&E at the front of the hospital

Auricular (ear) acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been practised in China as a healing technique for thousands of years. It involves the insertion of tiny needles into points of the body that are believed to be able to help the body heal itself. It is used alongside standard treatment.  

“Auricular” is another name for ears, so auricular acupuncture means ear acupuncture and involves the insertion of fine needles into the ear.

What are the benefits of auricular acupuncture?

  • It can help you relax and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • It can help you to sleep better.
  • It can reduce hot flushes which are a side effect of certain drugs or treatments.

How will this treatment be delivered?

Your acupuncturist (the therapist who gives the treatment) will insert fine needles into each of your ears to the acupuncture sites. You may feel a tingling sensation or a dull ache but should not feel any pain. During this time you will be in the sitting position. You will not need to undress during treatment but will be asked to remove earrings and hearing aids.

Auricular acupuncture practitioners have been specially trained in inserting the needles and will ask you to breathe in a certain way whilst they are inserting them.  

How long does the treatment take?

Your first appointment will involve an initial consultation and you will need to give verbal and written consent to the therapist for treatment.

The needles stay in for between 25-40 minutes but you should allow about an hour for your first treatment, as the acupuncturist will want to talk to you before and after your treatment.

How often should I have treatment?

The number of treatments vary for each individual, but initially you may need to attend weekly.

How will I feel during/after acupuncture?

Everyone experiences acupuncture differently. Some people describe feeling peaceful and calm, often people fall asleep during their treatment.  

The best way of telling what effect the acupuncture has on you is to pay particular attention to your moods and your sleep pattern for a day or two after the treatment, as this is usually when people notice the effects of acupuncture.

Are there any side effects/risks?

  • You may feel sleepy during treatment.
  • There may be slight bleeding on removal of the needles.
  • Fainting (although this is rare) or feeling faint during or after treatment.
  • Slight bruising may occur.

Are there any alternatives?

Auricular acupuncture is not seen as an alternative to standard treatments. It is seen as a support to those treatments. You decide after the consultation with the acupuncture therapist if it would be suitable for you and whether you wish to use it or not.

Where will the treatment take place?

Breast Screening Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. 

Who do I contact to arrange an appointment?

Contact the coping with cancer office to arrange your first visit to the clinic on 

Tel: 0191 250 2026

This clinic will be in the Breast Screening Unit. Please report to reception.

For further information contact – your breast care nurse

Or Coping with Cancer on Tel: 0191 250 2026

Data Protection

Any personal information is kept confidential. There may be occasions where your information needs to be shared with other care professionals to ensure you receive the best care possible.

In order to assist us to improve the services available, your information may be used for clinical audit, research, teaching and anonymised for National NHS Reviews and Statistics. Further information is available via Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust website or by contacting the Data Protection Officer by telephone on 0191 445 8418 or by email [email protected].