- What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medical methodology originating in ancient China that treats patients by manipulating thin, solid needles that have been inserted into Acupuncture points in different areas within the body. Stimulating these points can correct imbalances in the flow of Qi through channels known as meridians.
- Why is treatment not weekly?
There are 2 main reasons for this: Firstly, for a moment, imagine the body from a Chinese medical perspective. It is a fairly dense mass of electromagnetic activity. Acupuncture works in 3 ways, it moves what is stuck, builds what is weak or disperses what is pernicious. Commonly after treatment, there is a kind of hole created, or at least something that needs to be filled, the body then gets busy moving fresh qi (derived from diet) to where it’s required, this process takes time, usually weeks. Secondly, if we have something that needs to be filled and there is pernicious energy (like a virus) still active deeper in the body then this will be pushed into the created space and the acupuncturist can work on it next time, in other words if the superficial parts of the system are cleared [of virus] first, the immune system will then force any virus that is deeper to more superficial levels, this process takes 3 or 4 weeks.
- How does it work?
It is very difficult to digest how Acupuncture works without first understanding the concept of Qi, Qi is the electro-magnetic aspect of the human body, it is this aspect that the needles manipulate, any problem in the physical body will also manifest in the Qi, if the acupuncturist is able to resolve the problem in the Qi, then the physical body returns to normal automatically.
- Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
No, Acupuncture also works on Animals and Children, this eliminates the possibility that it is placebo.
- Are there any contra-indications to Acupuncture?
On the internet you can find certain sites that discuss contraindications to Acupuncture such as if you have a pacemaker, or coagulation disorders, or even skin disorders like psoriasis. I do not agree, I think Acupuncture is fine to use in these instances. In fact there are very few contra-indications to acupuncture, in certain rare diseases it is contra- indicated but they are the type of conditions you would be well aware of.
- Does it Hurt?
Acupuncture is not painful, it is possible to feel ‘something,’ which is usually described as tingling or numbness. On occasion a needle might hurt, that said the vast majority of patients view it as ‘a piece of cake.’ Many people have had Acupuncture, if you are concerned about the needles, ask someone who has had it and they will tell you its easy. Actually it is very relaxing
- Is it Safe?
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medicine, provided the person administering it is correctly trained. All members of the British Acupuncture Council must observe a strict code of practice, which lays down the stringent standards approved by the department of health. Learn more
- What conditions does it treat?
To learn more about what conditions are treated please click the link: Conditions Treated
- How are the needles sterilized?
All needles are sterilised at source and are used only once.
- How Many treatments will I need?
To learn about how many treatments you need please click the link Treatment time frames
- Are there side effects?
Side effects are rare, but may include the following, feeling light-headed, sleepiness, euphoria or bruising.
- Can children have Acupuncture?
People of all ages can have Acupuncture.
- What will happen upon my first visit?
Before having acupuncture treatment
Before your first acupuncture session there are several things you should bear in mind:
- Many commonly used acupuncture points are located on the lower arms and legs, so it is helpful to wear clothing that allows easy access to these areas
- Do let me know if you are completely new to acupuncture so they can take extra time to explain what happens and ensure you are comfortable with the process.
- The needles are retained for twenty minutes and the patient is usually left alone during this period.
- The pulse at the wrist will be listened to for a few minutes prior to treatment.
- It is important to give Acupuncture a fair trial. Symptoms may not change immediately so pledge to give it three or four sessions before deciding whether its for you. In more serious, or chronic conditions you may have to make monthly Acupuncture sessions part of your life for some time.
- Acupuncture is holistic medicine which means it treats the body as a whole, it is common for the patient to get improvement to problems that are not getting treatment directly, so its always worth telling me about other problems you may have, even if they seem unrelated.
Your first consultation
During your first visit I will need to gain a thorough understanding of your main complaint and your general health and lifestyle. This involves asking questions about your current symptoms and your medical history, as well as such things as your sleeping pattern, your appetite and digestion, and your emotional wellbeing. Women are also asked about their menstrual cycle and any past pregnancies and childbirth.
You might feel that some questions appear unrelated to your condition but the information you give helps to form a more complete picture of your health and lifestyle. As stated above I will also take your pulse on both wrists and may examine your tongue and feel for areas of muscular tension or pain.
Your main health complaint
When talking about your main complaint, you maybe asked to describe in your own words what the symptoms feel like and how severe they are. You may also be asked how long you have been having the symptoms, whether they are constant or intermittent and how frequent they are. You should mention any medication that you are taking and whether you have tried any other therapies.
In order to make a diagnosis according to traditional Chinese medicine theory and to find the right treatment approach, I may also want to know more specific details.
Treatment plan and treatment
Based on all the information you have given, I will make a diagnosis and put together your treatment plan, which may include lifestyle and dietary advice as well as acupuncture. Very fine single-use pre-sterilised needles are used to stimulate specific acupuncture points on your body. Because energy meridians range across the whole body, the points used are not necessarily close to where you experience pain or discomfort. For example, if you suffer from headaches needles might be inserted in your foot or hand. It is helpful to see acupuncture as an investment. During each treatment the weakest organ system is treated, this means the whole body is strengthened. The symptoms are not treated directly, the fact that the body is stronger naturally decreases the symptoms over time.
As well as needling acupuncture points, other Chinese medicine techniques such as:
- moxibustion: heat is applied to an acupuncture point or meridian using moxa (a therapeutic herb) and/or heat lamps to warm and relax muscles and qi
- Acu-Silk: The use of silk to stimulate the Acupuncture points
I may suggest ways in which you can enhance the long-term effects of your treatment. This may involve making changes to your diet and daily routine. If necessary you will be referred to other healthcare practitioners for specialist care.
Most people find acupuncture relaxing and often feel very calm after a treatment. You may feel a little tired or sleepy and should take this into account if you are planning to drive or use heavy machinery straight after your treatment.
You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest.
Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting, such as occasional bruising which is generally painless and clears within a day or two.
- Is all Acupuncture the same?
No, there are many types of Acupuncture, the type that I practice is called Stems and Branches, which is an ancient Chinese style of five element Acupuncture
- What do I wear?
There are no special requirements
- What should I do after?
Usually there are no prescriptions for after your treatment.