Your First Treatment
What should I wear?
Loose trousers and a comfortable top are ideal for both therapeutic massage (which is given over light clothing) and acupuncture as it allows easy access to the most commonly used points on the lower legs, arms, abdomen, chest and back. There are acupuncture points all over the body so in some cases you will need to undress to your underwear.
Should I eat before my treatment?
Yes - please eat something light before treatment and avoid anything alcoholic.
Do I need to bring anything?
If you have had any medical tests recently please bring the results.
What do I need to tell you?
When you arrive you can tell me about your condition and I will ask lots of questions about your general health and lifestyle; family’s health; medical history and any medication you are taking. I will look at your tongue noting its shape, colour and coating and take your pulse on both wrists noting the quality, strength, rhythm and speed. I may examine areas of pain, tension, numbness or weakness. This will give me a broad and thorough picture of what is going on and from there I can make a diagnosis and design a course of treatment for you.
How long is the consultation?
The consultation usually lasts around twenty minutes. Occasionally an extended consultation is needed and treatment is given on the second visit. Anyone who is in pain will always receive treatment at their first appointment.
What happens in the acupuncture treatment?
Ultra fine, sterile acupuncture needles are gently inserted to stimulate specific acupuncture points. They will not necessarily be close to where you experience symptoms. For example, if you suffer from headaches needles might be inserted in your foot or hand. I generally use 6-12 needles which are left in for 20 minutes then removed.
Will acupuncture hurt?
Usually when the needles are inserted there is no pain, sometimes there is a slight pricking, tingling or aching. These sensations are usually very brief and once the needles are in place most people feel very relaxed.
In addition to, or instead of needles I may also use:
- Chinese therapeutic massage known as tui na (pronounce twee nar)
- Moxa - gentle warmth is applied to a particular point using herbs or charcole
- Cupping - vacuum sealed glass cups placed directly on the skin
Before needles, tui na, moxa and cups were used by ancient shamans and healers to stimulate points and energy channels.
Tui na, sometimes referred to as acupuncture without needles, uses hands, thumbs, fingers and elbows using various techniques like pressure, kneading and vibration which have particular therapeutic effects. Important points that are sometimes too sensitive to be stimulated with the needle can be activated with hands. Tui na feels deep, warming and rhythmic.
Moxa can be made into a stick which is held over the chosen point to gentlty warm it. It can also be made into a cone and placed on an acupuncture needle or slice of ginger to allow warmth to travel into the body.
Cupping stimulates points using vacuum sealed glass cups. The vacuum is created by placing a flame inside the cup which is placed on the skin creating a sucking sensation.
What happens in the shiatsu treatment?
Shiatsu is a Japanese therapeutic massage which like tui na uses the principle as Chinese medicine and shares many of the same techniques. Your treatment will take place on a table where areas of weakness and tension will be identified and addressed in a whole body treatment. Treatment may be firm and vigorous or light and gentle depending on your condition and constitution. Most people find shiatsu deeply relaxing.
After your treatment
Most people feel calm and relaxed after treatment. You may feel a bit tired or sleepy so allow yourself time to absorb the benefits and avoid heavy exertion (such as running or going to the gym), large meals or very hot baths.
Other therapies such as physiotherapy and osteopathy can work well in combination with acupuncture however, it is recommended that you allow at least 24 hours between them and do not have such a treatment straight after your session.
Follow-up Acupuncture appointments are 45 or 60 minutes depending on what you need. I will be able to advise you about this at the end of your first session.
Shiatsu follow-ups are an hour.