Your first treatment
What will happen
Before your treatment begins I will take a look at your tongue noting its shape, colour and coating and take your pulse on both wrists noting the quality, strength, rhythm and speed. The tongue and pulse give a clear picture of the energetic state of the internal organs and vital substances of your body.
Care will be taken examining any areas of pain, tension or weakness either before your treatment begins or during it. My aim then is to weave together all the information gathered, and make a diagnosis based on the principles of Chinese medicine. Your treatment plan will be something we work out together; it will reflect your individual needs and specific circumstances and will include supporting you regarding the things you can do to help yourself.
What to wear
Loose trousers or a skirt and a comfy top with sleeves allow 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.
Will acupuncture hurt?
Usually there is no pain when the needles are inserted. 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.
Ultra fine, single use, 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 uses 4-12 needles which are left in place for up to 20 minutes then removed.
Before needles, moxa, cups and massage were used by ancient shamans and healers to stimulate points and energy channels. I may use some of these in your treatment.
Important points that are sometimes too sensitive to be stimulated with the needle can be activated with the hands and fingers. Sometimes referred to as acupuncture without needles acupressure can be an effective alternative to acupuncture for people who are fearful of needles.
Tui na and shiatsu
A wide range of hands-on techniques are part of Chinese medicine and have particular therapeutic effects and include rolling and pressing, to shaking, grasping and vibrating. They may be vigorous and moving, rhythmic and warming, gentle and subtle depending on what you need.
Gentle warmth is applied to a particular point using the herb mugwort rolled into a stick and held over the chosen point or a cone and placed on an acupuncture needle, a slice of ginger or directly onto the skin allowing warmth to travel into the body.
Specific points and energy channels are stimulated 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.
Should I eat before treatment?
Yes - something light and avoid anything alcoholic.
After your treatment
Most people feel calm and relaxed after treatment, you may feel a bit tired or sleepy. 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 can work well in combination with acupuncture however, it is recommended that you allow 48 hours between them.