About Traditional Acupuncture
Traditional acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine and has been practised for thousands of years in China. Today it is practised all around the world to treat many conditions.
What Happens in a Treatment
Your first visit will include a consultation where you can tell me about your condition and I can ask you general and specific questions about your health and life style.
I will ask to look at your tongue, take your pulse on both wrists and, if it is relevent, examine areas of muscular tension or pain. From this I will make a diagnosis and treatment plan which will be individually tailored to the symptoms you are experiencing and who you are. Treatment is usually given laying down on a therapy table. The most commonly used acupuncture points are located below the elbows and knees so you will probably need to roll up your sleeves and trousers, or if other points on the body are used you will need to undress to your underwear.
Does it Hurt?
Most of my new patients are surprised and relieved to find that acupuncture doesn't hurt. The needles, which stimulate the acupuncture points, are very fine and gently inserted. You may feel a slight tingling, pricking, aching or heavy sensation - or nothing at all. Once in place any sensations usually stop within a few seconds and the needles are generally left in place for twenty minutes. Most people find this very relaxing.
As well as needling massage, acupressure and warmth and vacuum sealed cups may also be used to stimulate points to help relieve muscle tension, stimulate blood flow, open energy channels and clear stagnation.
Most people feel calm and relaxed after a treatment and a little time to rest after your treatment is recommended. Peeople are often surprised to find that as well as help with the condition that bought them for treatment they experience 'positive side effects' from acupuncture such as improved sleep or digestive function.
Acupuncture is holistic which means your environment, and habits around work, eating, exercise and relaxation affect your health. Part of treatment will involve identifying ways to support your health more fully. I may make some suggestions for you, and you might think of things yourself. With positive lifestyle changes you can expect to feel better for longer between treatments, not need to come so frequently, or complete treatment.
Can acupuncture help me? And how many treatments will I need?
You can find answers to these questions here >
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Standard research methods such as those used to evaluate pharmaceutical drugs are not very useful when applied to acupuncture, and medical science is yet to establish the mechanisms of how it works. However there is a growing body of qualitative research evidence about the effectiveness of acupuncture, a selection of which I have used throughout this website. Most of it come from summaries which are on the British Acupuncture Council website.
Acupuncture is part of Chinese medicine, a metaphorical science that helps us understand how we are part of nature. This way of explaining and understanding the human body and health and illness is completely different from that of medical science. It is a different paradigm. At the heart of Chinese medicine lies the concept of qi which roughly translated means life force. Qi (pronounced chee) is the sub-strata of the entire universe and includes everything material and immaterial. In terms of human beings qi is said to run through numerous channels throughout the body.
If you would like to read more about the traditional metaphorical perspective Chinese medicine uses to explain and understand acupuncture I recommend Gail Reichstein’s book Wood Becomes Water - Chinese Medicine in Everyday Life. If you want something that includes the latest medical scientific thinking I suggest The Spark in the Machine - How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine. It is by Dr Daniel Keown who is both a medical doctor and acupuncture practitioner.