People often have lots of questions about acupuncture – here are one or two that you may be pondering:
How does a Chinese Medicine practitioner understand a western diagnosis?
The translation between the patterns of Chinese Medicine and western conditions is a fascinating one. For a named condition you bring to your practitioner, say, nausea, there is a complex weave of different syndromes and patterns within which it is understood. The symptoms are important, a bridge between what you experience and how the practitioner, be they eastern or western, makes sense of what you bring to them. Every symptom has meaning within the eastern tradition that gives an insight into the individual patient’s needs and allows an individualised response to those needs. Two patients may present with the same condition but have a different root cause or reaction to it, Chinese Medicine takes these roots and reactions into account when formulating a treatment. The same condition may be treated entirely differently for each patient.
What happens during a consultation?
The first consultation and treatment usually takes 60 minutes, subsequent sessions may take less time, around 45 minutes. I will take a full medical history including your presenting complaints and previous illnesses, as well as family medical history and notes of any medications you may be taking. This will be followed by Chinese body, tongue and pulse diagnosis. At this point, I will consider the full picture to formulate a treatment strategy for you. Points for needling will be selected and any adjunct treatment such as moxibustion or cupping will be considered too. If needles are to be inserted, they are left in place for 20 minutes while you lie back and relax. Often patients will doze during the treatment.
- Acupuncture needles are very different from needles you may have encountered in hospital or at your GP surgery. They are substantially finer.
- In areas of the body where there are more nerve endings you may experience a slight sting or aching sensation when the needles are inserted. This generally passes quite quickly.
- Most people find acupuncture a deeply relaxing experience.
- It is perfectly natural to feel a little apprehensive the first time you have a treatment, your acupuncturist will explain everything carefully and stay with you throughout the treatment – by all means let her know if you are feeling anxious, are curious about any sensations or if you want to ask a question at any time.
How many treatments will I need?
Each patient responds differently, so it is not possible to anticipate precisely how many treatments will be required in advance. Some conditions can be treated with just one or two appointments, others require longer term support. Usually, the first few treatments are given close together and then spaced out once symptoms begin to improve. Many people like to have a monthly or bi-monthly appointment to maintain balance and for relaxation or stress management. Your personal needs are discussed at the first and any subsequent consultations so you are constantly kept aware of how things are progressing.
What should I wear?
We advise you to wear loose, comfortable clothing which will allow you to move easily and can be rolled up if needed. In some cases, you may need to remove a particular item of clothing. Towels and blankets will be provided to maintain modesty.
How will I feel after the treatment?
The outcome of each treatment will be individual and will depend on many factors. You may feel a difference in your condition immediately or it may take longer. You may notice a difference in things other than your presenting symptoms, such as sleep, mood, energy or other issues following your treatment. Sometimes after a treatment you may feel tired and need to rest, it may be that you get a burst of energy – it’s individual and can vary from session to session. Most people feel relaxed and calm following a treatment.