Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Cupping and Making Appointments with Paul Carter in Hervey Bay


No. Well, not really painful. Acupuncture needles are very fine, so nothing like hypodermic needles used for injections. Often guide tubes are used to desensitise an area and the finest needles may have no sensation at all.

You may feel a minimal sensation when a very fine sterile needle passes through the skin. Some sensations that are totally common during acupuncture (while the needles are in) include feelings of heaviness, heat and pressure, though not to the extent of being uncomfortable. A vast majority of patients fall asleep during their treatments!

If you are scared of needles, still come in because acupuncture is one tool under the Chinese medicine term. By using pressure points, massage, cupping, diet, herbs etc, you may still have a successful result without acupuncture.

Yes. Sterilised single-use acupuncture needles are used and disposed of immediately after acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture needles come in various sizes, and their dimensions can vary depending on the intended use and the practitioner’s preference. Typically, acupuncture needles range from about 0.12 millimeters (mm) to 0.35 mm in diameter and 13 mm to 130 mm in length. However, some specialized needles used for specific acupuncture techniques or areas of the body may be even shorter or longer.

The most common acupuncture needles used in clinical practice are about 0.20 mm to 0.25 mm in diameter and 25 mm to 40 mm in length. These needles are much thinner than hypodermic needles used for injections, making acupuncture treatments generally less painful. In fact around 30 acupuncture needles can fit in a hypodermic needle that is used to draw blood. That’s pretty small.


According to traditional Chinese medicine, the body has meridians or pathways through which Qi flows. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncturists aim to restore the balance of Qi and alleviate various physical and emotional conditions.

The mechanisms of acupuncture are not fully understood, but there are several theories that may help explain its effects:

  1. Neural modulation: When the needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points, they may activate sensory nerves under the skin. This stimulation can send signals to the brain and spinal cord, leading to the release of various neurotransmitters and endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. This process can help reduce pain and promote relaxation.

  2. Blood flow and circulation: Acupuncture may improve blood flow and circulation to certain areas of the body. By stimulating the blood flow, more oxygen and nutrients can reach tissues, promoting healing and reducing inflammation.

  3. Connective tissue stimulation: Acupuncture might influence connective tissues known as fascia, which wrap around muscles and organs. Stimulating these tissues could trigger a cascade of biochemical responses that impact the body’s functions.

  4. Modulation of neurotransmitters: Acupuncture has been shown to affect the levels of various neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. These chemicals play a role in mood regulation and pain perception.

  5. Gate control theory: This theory suggests that acupuncture may influence the “gate” mechanism in the spinal cord, which controls the transmission of pain signals to the brain. By stimulating certain acupuncture points, the gate may be closed, reducing the perception of pain.

Most people experience little to no side effects from acupuncture. Some may feel slight soreness or bruising at the needle insertion points, but these usually subside quickly. Serious adverse effects are rare.

Yes, acupuncture can often be safely combined with other conventional medical treatments and therapies to complement the overall health plan. However, it’s essential to inform all healthcare providers about the treatments you are receiving to avoid any potential interactions.

Acupuncture involves the use of acupuncture needles locally at tender points called ashi points as well as away from the area of concern. Dry needling targets trigger points which we call ashi points.

Dry needling is a form of acupuncture, however, the experience of acupuncture is often different. Within an acupuncture session, your overall health is looked at. Needles may be inserted at trigger points as well other places. When it comes to pain relief we try and have an immediate effect on relieving pain. Then the needles are left in for the full benefit. This has the side benefit of being able to relax for 30-40 minutes.

Many people fall asleep and comment on an overall feeling of wellness after an acupuncture session. You may also be advised on exercises, stretches, diet, linaments, herbs to further enhance your results.

A course of acupuncture for most chronic conditions is 10 sessions. It really depends on each individual though. Most acute issues resolve in five to ten treatments, while more treatments are needed for chronic conditions. Benefits of acupuncture are cumulative. In most cases, patients start to feel a difference after their third treatment; however, in many cases, I’ve seen results after their first treatment. It is very important to follow the treatment plan that is designed for you in order to see results.

Acupuncture needling generally stay in for 30 minutes. This shorter for younger patients, weak constitution or when an acupuncture method similar to dry needling is employed. 

In January 2017 a Comparative Literature Review, called the Acupuncture Evidence Project,  was published on the evidence for acupuncture. The review found that 117 conditions responded positively to acupuncture treatment. Of the 117 conditions, 8 were found to have strong evidence of positive effect.

About 70% of patients visiting Paul for acupuncture will only require to expose legs up to the knees and arms up to the elbows. For most conditions, acupuncture points are selected on the hands and forearms, feet and legs, ears and head. In this case, loose fitting clothing is best

Sometimes local needling is required and you’ll need to undress like having a massage. In this case, you’ll be draped with towels for maximum comfort.

Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs are a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and have been used for thousands of years in China and other Asian countries. They are derived from various parts of plants, such as roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, and minerals. These herbs are often combined into formulas to create a synergistic effect for treating various health conditions and promoting overall well-being.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, Chinese herbs work by restoring the balance of Yin and Yang energies within the body, as well as promoting the smooth flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood. The specific properties and actions of each herb influence different organs and meridians in the body, aiming to address the underlying causes of health issues.

Chinese herbs are available in various forms, including raw herbs (dried and prepared for decoctions), granules (powdered extracts), capsules, tablets, tinctures, and ointments. The method of administration depends on the patient’s condition, preferences, and the TCM practitioner’s recommendation.

Currently, Paul uses raw powdered herbs for their potency and ease of use. 

In many cases, Chinese herbs can complement other treatments, including Western medicine. However, it’s essential to inform both your TCM practitioner and your primary healthcare provider about any other treatments or medications you are using to avoid potential interactions.

While there are some over-the-counter Chinese herbal products available, it is generally recommended to seek guidance from a qualified TCM practitioner before using Chinese herbs for self-treatment. TCM is a complex medical system, and individualized treatment based on a thorough diagnosis is crucial for optimal results.

The time it takes to see results with Chinese herbs can vary depending on the individual’s condition, the severity of the problem, and how well they respond to the herbs. Some people may experience improvements within a few days or weeks, while others may need to take the herbs for a more extended period to notice significant changes.

Paul only stock products that have undergone testing for quality assurance. The Chinese herbal medicine products are plant-based ethically sourced products are supplied.

The herbs are considered medicinal herbs and can, therefore, have strong healing or adverse reactions. Like any medicine, interactions can occur, so it’s best to take herbs from a trained herbalist.

When used correctly and prescribed by a qualified TCM practitioner, Chinese herbs are generally considered safe. However, just like any other form of medicine, Chinese herbs can have side effects and interactions with certain medications. It’s crucial to consult a licensed TCM practitioner or a qualified healthcare professional before using Chinese herbs, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking other medications.


Cupping therapy is an ancient alternative medicine practice that involves placing special cups on the skin to create a suction effect. This suction helps to mobilize blood flow, promote healing, and alleviate pain or tension.

During cupping, the cups are usually made of glass, silicone, or bamboo. The practitioner creates a vacuum inside the cup by heating the air (in glass cups) or using a pump (in silicone cups). Once the vacuum is created, the cups are placed on specific areas of the body.

Paul mainly uses glass cups with the traditional flame method in clinic.

Cupping is used alongside acupuncture therapy when seeing Paul. Make an appointment for acupuncture to discuss how cupping can be used within your session.

Yes, cupping can leave circular marks or bruises on the skin. These marks are caused by the suction and indicate increased blood flow to the area. They are temporary and usually disappear within a few days to a couple of weeks.

When performed by a trained and licensed practitioner, cupping therapy is considered safe for most people. However, individuals with certain medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders, skin infections, or pregnancy, should avoid cupping or consult their healthcare provider before trying it.

Cupping will be discussed alongside other Chinese medicine modalities as apart of your treatment plan. 


I was a massage therapist for many years. After training in acupuncture and Chinese medicine I get quicker results with these methods. Often I’ll do some massage technique in the session if it will further enhance the treatment but I no longer supply standalone massage treatments. I am a fan of massage and believe we should all receive regular massage therapy. 

Payments and Cost

Initial Consultation and Treatment is $120

Follow Up treatments are $95

Children’s Initial Consultation and treatment $85

Children’s Follow Up treatments $60

Herbal Medicine is around $40 per week


Yes a Square reader can process all major credit and debit cards.

You can’t claim on HICAPS in the clinic, however a receipt is supplied by email or printed with provider number details for reimbursement. 

Health Funds

Yes. Most extended insurance plans cover acupuncture treatments. Please contact your health insurance provider to determine how much you will get back on acupuncture treatment.


Try parking out the back of the clinic and walking up through the arcade. This is the closest carpark and is often available during the day.

About Paul Carter

‘Doctor’ is not a protected title. This means that chiropractors as well as osteopaths, pharmacists, optometrists, dentists, vets, podiatrists, Chinese medicine practitioners are allowed to use the title Dr. For many years I used this term while practicing Chinese medicine in Melbourne. 

Over the years and after practicing in Canada for 5 years I’ve decided to just go by my name and not use the Doctor title in advertising to avoid confusion for the general public.