Covid tests to give peace of mind
In order to provide my clients with peace of mind I am offering a Covid antigen and antibody testing service using high quality lateral flow tests sourced by my professional body – the BAA (British Acupuncture Association). The tests selected by the BAA are used by the NHS, and the antibody test has out performed other similar tests in a test comparison reported in the Lancet
Between one in three and one in four people infected with Covid 19 are symptom free, which is why Covid spreads so rapidly. This also results in much uncertainty and anxiety about passing on Covid to others. The rapid lateral flow test is a great way to test whether people are currently infectious -with Covid antigens present, or if they have built up antibodies to the virus in the blood – signifying they have already had the virus previously.
- The antigen test is useful to check if the virus is present and you are carrying the infection. Antigens disappear when the infection has passed. The antigen test tells you if you are likely to pass the virus on, helping you to keep relatives, loved ones, friends and colleagues safe. It is a nasal swab test. Covid testing is widely available for people who display Covid symptoms. Free ‘symptom free’ antigen testing is available through York Council for some people and you can check your eligibility for a free test here. If you cannot get the test then I am happy to help.
- The antibody test is useful as it can help you make sense of any current or persistent health issues that you may be worried about – this is helpful as Covid is a multi-systemic disease, and lingering illness does not appear to be related to initial symptoms or severity of the initial infection. What this means is you might have had Covid and not realised it – and current health problems may be related to an initial or previous Covid infection, which you were completely unaware of. The antibody test is a blood test using several drops of blood from a finger prick. People start to develop Covid antibodies after two days but the test becomes more reliable after six days when more antibodies are built up – as the body fights the virus off. Antibodies remain in the blood long after the illness has gone and this is what gives us our immunity. However, Covid is a novel illness where much is still to be learned, and different strains are emerging So an antibody test cannot tell you if you are immune to the virus or if you can or cannot spread the virus to others. For this reason you should follow the same social distancing rules as others regardless of the test result. Antibody tests are not widely available on the NHS yet.
The tests are done onsite and there is no need for laboratory analysis. The results will be with you within 15-30 minutes.
Why have a Covid test with an acupuncturist/herbalist?
As a qualified health professional I am able to conduct tests to a high professional standard and to offer post test support and advice, drawing on current medical and scientific knowledge about Covid and Chinese health understanding. Chinese medicine has supported people during numerous pandemics for several millennia. As a practitioner I offer an individualised treatment approach that addresses mind, body and spirit to each and every one of my clients. Working with herbs I can reflect on which of your bodily systems need support and offer help that is ‘side effect’ free. With acupuncture I can support your whole body to improve wellbeing and optimise health – because good health is so much more than an absence of dis-ease.
The fear and anxiety we are exposed to in this pandemic has affected us all and so often I ask my patients how they are feeling and it is like opening a lid on a box that must be shut down in order to cope and get through. Issues with sleep, emotional health and digestion (which is linked with anxiety and stress through the vagal nerve) are commonplace. I offer a space to process what is going on for you so that you can feel well supported on your personal journey through this pandemic.
I can also offer a bespoke testing service where I test a number of people at work for local businesses (please ask for a competitive quote for this service).
I have kept my pricing fair given the personal risks involved with testing, and the work involved for me.
Antigen test – £50. Clinic patients- £40
Antibody test £60. Clinic patients £50
Both tests: £100 Clinic patients £80
Further information about the science of testing for those who are interested
No diagnostic test is 100% accurate on every occasion. The best tests have both high sensitivity and specificity. Sensitivity is the ability of the test to accurately detect the illness with positive readings. Specificity is the ability of the test to give negative readings to people who don’t have the illness. In terms of Covid testing, the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests have become the gold standard but they are not without controversy. PCR testing involves a cyclical process of heating and cooling that is done by a machine in a laboratory. The number of cycles will impact on test accuracy – its sensitivity and specificity. Doctors have raised concerns in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) about UK PCR tests because the private laboratories that process the tests do not release information about the number of cycles, making the tests hard to interpret. There were concerns that there were too many cycles being done, resulting in high false positives. There is also the issue that when somebody has been infected in the past and tested positive previously, the PCR test offers no reliable way to test whether a positive result is due to previous infection. These problems have led to calls for clarity about the purpose of testing and a clear national strategy.
Lateral flow tests have a potentially important role to play in a national testing strategy but they are not readily available to everyone. There are different questions that can be asked by the different tests and it is important to understand what they mean. The antigen test will tell you if you are carrying proteins that the body produces in response to the virus – and potentially spreading the virus whilst the antibody test will tell you about your immunological response to previous infection.