YOUR FIRST CONSULTATION
Your initial consultation will consist of a diagnosis as well as your first treatment. You will be asked about your current health and medical history, your lifestyle and your general well-being. The consultation will also incorporate an element of physical examination, including palpation of tender or problem areas, pulse-reading and tongue diagnosis. First consultations are up to two hours long; subsequent treatments are forty-five minutes to one hour in duration.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING YOUR TREATMENT?
Following your first consultation, I shall put together your individual treatment plan. This may include appropriate lifestyle and dietary advice in addition to acupuncture and other techniques used in treatment.
Acupuncture involves the shallow and gentle insertion of very fine, sterilised, single-use needles just below the skin at points along pathways in the body. This process allows the free flow of Qi to re-establish itself. The width of an acupuncture needle is approximately that of two human hairs placed next to each other; the number of needles is kept to a minimum, and they may be inserted and removed immediately or left in place for some time (around twenty to forty minutes). Most people experience a tingling sensation or slight, dull ache, and find the treatment deeply relaxing.
I may use other Chinese medicine techniques, such as:
- Moxibustion: A cone of dried moxa – a therapeutic herb also known as mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) – is heated on the acupuncture point prior to needling, to make treatment more effective. Moxa sticks (which resemble cigars) might also be used to warm larger areas of the body, help relax muscles and to supplement Qi.
- Tui Na: Chinese therapeutic massage that relieves muscle tension and stimulates acupressure points, and encourages the free flow of Qi.
- Cupping: Glass or plastic cups with vacuum seals are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and clear stagnant Qi.
- Gua Sha: A disposable tool will be used to rub the skin gently in order to increase blood flow to painful areas and clear stagnant Qi.
HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER TREATMENT?
Most people feel very calm after a treatment. You may also feel a little tired or sleepy, and should take this into account when planning the rest of your day. You should refrain from vigorous exercise afterwards, and allow yourself some time to rest. It is advisable to keep well hydrated and not to drink alcohol on the day of your treatment.
There are very few side effects from acupuncture when practised by a fully qualified practitioner. Any minor side effects that do occur, such as dizziness or bruising around needle points, are mild and self-correcting. Cupping and gua sha can temporarily mark the skin, but such bruising is painless and generally clears within a day or two.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
Acupuncture has a cumulative effect. Initially, a course of one treatment per week for at least five weeks is recommended, in order to begin restoring internal balance and to support the free flow of Qi. Length and frequency of treatment depend on the patient’s health complaint; I shall review your progress with you on a regular basis. Within the first few treatments, most patients report increased energy levels, better-quality sleep and improvement in their condition.
Gaps between treatments are then increased gradually. Most patients find that regular treatment, e.g. once a month, can help them maintain good health preventively and support them in achieving their goals.