What to Expect
Whatever the main complaint, traditional acupuncture treats the whole person, so you may well experience other benefits for example better sleep or general well being.
The initial diagnosis depends on a detailed health history and the practitioner will also require information on lifestyle influences such as diet, work, and emotional stresses and strains. All these factors are considered in the diagnosis and treatment is a two way partnership where patient and practitioner work together to identify all relevant aspects and attempt to rectify them.
Another important aspect of diagnosis is feeling for various pulse qualities (at three positions on each wrist) and looking at the colour, shape and coating of the tongue.
During a treatment needles are inserted fairly superficially into the chosen points which are most commonly on the hands, arms feet and legs. The practitioner will always advise which points have been chosen to ensure the patient is comfortable with the planned treatment.
The needles may be inserted and removed very quickly or they may be left in place for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the effect required. The acupuncturist is looking to achieve a sensation known as ‘deqi’ (pronounced de-chee), which is sometimes described as a tingle or ache.
Other types of treatment that may be appropriate are moxa, heat lamps, electro-acupuncture, guasha and cupping. The practitioner would always discuss these options with you if they are appropriate to your treatment.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS?
Expected length of treatment varies, often depending on how chronic the condition is. Improvement can be immediate or can take a few sessions. This will be discussed at the first consultation and I usually advise people that they will have a good feeling about how much they are likely to benefit from treatment by the fourth session.
Unfortunately acupuncture in most cases is not a quick fix and takes commitment from both patient and practitioner. That said, though the main complaint may take some time to achieve the best possible improvement, additional benefits are often noticed straight away. This might be better sleep, energy levels or an increased state of general wellbeing.
IS IT SAFE?
Acupuncture is very safe; sterile, single use, disposable needles are used and though you may experience some slight bruising, tiredness or mild dizziness, all such reactions are short-lived.