Your First Treatment
What should I wear?
Loose trousers and a top with sleeves. This allows easy access to the most commonly used points on the lower legs, arms, abdomen, chest and back. It is also ideal for therapeutic massage which is usually given over light clothing. 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?
I will be keen to hear about your condition and I will ask a range 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.
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 I may also use:
- Moxa - gentle warmth is applied to a particular point using herbs or charcole
- Cupping - vacuum sealed glass cups placed directly on the skin
- Therapeutic massage known as tui na or shiatsu - sometimes referred to as acupuncture without needles.
Before needles, moxa, cups and massage were used by ancient shamans and healers to stimulate points and energy channels.
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.
Important points that are sometimes too sensitive to be stimulated with the needle can be activated with hands and it can be used as an alternative to acupuncture for people who are fearful of needles.
Tui na and shiatsu use a wide range of massage techniques from rolling and pressing, to shaking, grasping and vibrating. They each have particular therapeutic effects and can be applied firmly and vigorously or very gently and subtly. It may be vigorous and moving, rhythmic and warming, gentle and subtle depending on your condition and constitution
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.
Follow-up treatments last 45-60 minutes.