About multibeds

What is a multibed acupuncture clinic?

In a 'multibed' clinic, several people are treated together in one large room, hence the term.

Non-NHS funded multibed clinics have been appearing in the UK only since 2003. However, in the Far East it is normal to treat many people together and many people feel is a more 'authentic' way to practice and receive acupuncture. It is possible for acupuncturists to offer this type of service because acupuncture needles usually take 20-45 minutes to do their work, so the practitioner can place needles in one patient, leave them to relax into their treatment, and then move on to another patient.

By treating more than one patient each hour, a practitioner can significantly reduce the price of each treatment. Also, rent costs per patient can be much reduced, and these savings can be passed on to you.

Do people mind being treated together?

Research has shown that patients being treated in multibed clinics report many positive experiences and very few negative. (Stone, 2006).

As well as the reduced cost, an extra benefit of multibed clinics is the community spirit that emerges when several people are treated together. Patients consistently report that they like the sense of togetherness and humanity they find there. Further to this, an energy field or 'chi' field is created when several people are treated together and this can enhance the power of one's healing experience, just as practicing yoga or tai chi alongside several other people can make it seem to flow more easily and more powerfully.

The vast majority of patients feel very comfortable receiving acupuncture in this setting. Any good practitioner will let you know if he or she thinks you need one-to-one treatment for whatever reason.

For a small number of patients, receiving acupuncture treatment in a space with other people may feel unacceptable. If you are feeling uncomfortable, ask for time to talk this over with your practitioner, and if necessary you can talk about continuing your treatment privately.

How much will I have to pay for treatment in a multibed clinic?

Different clinics use slightly different models, but most multibed clinics are able to offer acupuncture at around half the cost of a local 'one-to-one' treatment.

Please see our Prices page for current treatment costs at Birmingham Community Acupuncture

Why is it important that acupuncture is more affordable?

Multibed clinics reduce the cost of acupuncture treatments as described above. This is important because it means that more patients are able to access treatment frequently and for long enough to get better and stay better. If you only have a few treatments, or your treatments are too infrequent, the acupuncture may not build up the momentum to give you the healing you seek.

How will my dignity be protected when I have treatment in a multibed clinic?

It is possible to offer more affordable acupuncture by treating people together in the same space. Obviously this may impact patients' privacy during treatment. At Birmingham Community Acupuncture we are well aware of this and take steps to ensure high quality patient care: beds are separated by screens for privacy; blankets are used to preserve patients' dignity. It is rare to have to remove clothes, as the most-frequently used points are on the arms and legs. Trousers and sleeves can be rolled up, or a skirt moved to one side, for example. For this reason, please wear loose clothing when you attend your clinic.

It is the duty of your practitioner to ensure that you feel well cared for in the shared space. However, different patients have different needs, and the issue of privacy may be more of a concern for some patients than others.

Please talk to your practitioner about how you will be treated before you agree to start your treatment. During your treatment, if you feel that you would like more privacy, either to talk about personal issues or during your treatment, please let your practitioner know and they will be happy to help.