Your First Treatment
What happens in the consultation?
I will be interested to hear what is going on with you, symptoms you are expereincing and what you are hoping for from treatment. I will ask some questions about your health and lifestyle past and present, look at your tongue noting its shape, colour and coating and take your pulse on both wrists noting the quality, strength, rhythm and speed. In Chinese medicine the tongue and pulse give a picture of the energetic state of the bodies major organs and vital substances. Care will be taken examining any areas of pain, tension or weakness. All these things will be included in making a diagnosis and deciding how best to treat you.
What should I wear?
Loose trousers or a skirt and a 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.
Should I eat before my treatment?
Yes - please eat something light before treatment and avoid anything alcoholic.
What happens in the acupuncture treatment?
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 use 4-12 needles which are left in for about 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, a slice of ginger or directly onto the skin allowing 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 the hands and fingers. This can be also be 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 may be vigorous and moving, rhythmic and warming or 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 can work well in combination with acupuncture however, it is recommended that you allow 48 hours between them.
Follow up and contact
I may contact you after your treatment with information or recommendations if you agree to this. Follow-up treatments are normally 45-60 minutes. Occasionally a 75 minute session can be useful.
How often and how long you have treatment is your choice. I am here to do my best for you and give you impartial advice. If you finish treatment I am very happy for you to stay in contact and keep me updated.