What happens at my first treatment?
I will ask you questions about your current symptoms which are troubling you, your past medical history and any medication you are taking. I will also ask about your general health. I will then look at your tongue and take your pulse on both wrists; this will enable a diagnosis to be made and appropriate acupuncture points to be selected.
The acupuncture needles may be in place for 20-30 minutes, so before the needles are inserted, I will make sure you are comfortable on my couch. During treatment, you can choose whether you would like me to stay in the room or leave you alone to relax - there will always be a buzzer to contact me if needed. If I am using any adjunct treatments such as heating moxa, I will always be present. While the needles are in place most people feel deeply relaxed which can continue after they are removed. Please be reassured that having an acupuncture treatment feels nothing like having blood taken or having a tattoo.
After the treatment the needles will be removed. You will have an opportunity to ask me any questions and we can discuss a future treatment plan and any lifestyle advice I feel appropriate.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture needles are very fine. When inserted the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache.
How many sessions will I need?
Frequency and length of treatment depends on your individual condition. Some change is usually felt after five treatments, although occasionally only one or two treatments are required. Some patients may need treatment over several months or long-term. I will normally ask to see you once or twice a week at first.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture has a very sound track record. The needles used are single-use, sterile and disposable. Responses to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness, and on occasion minor bruising may occur. However, all such reactions are short-lived.
Preparing for treatment
It is advisable not to go for treatment on an empty stomach or straight after a heavy meal and to avoid alcohol before treatment.
Some commonly used acupuncture points are located on the lower arms and legs, so it is helpful to wear loose fitting clothes which can be rolled up. You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment.
Should my doctor know?
Acupuncture is often used in conjunction with western medicine. If you have been prescribed medication it is recommended that you tell your doctor you are planning to have acupuncture. You should always tell an acupuncturist about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.