What to Expect
How does the acupuncturist diagnose?
Acupuncturists are trained to recognise patterns of disharmony and evaluate the individual patient's specific set of symptoms. All symptoms, emotional and physical, not just the major ones, are considered relevant in Chinese Medicine and help to provide clues about the root of the problems.
Your First Appointment
As there is a lot to get through, your first appointment will last for around two hours (thereafter, appointments last about one hour). The initial consultation consists of:
- Going through your health history with you.
- Assessing your pulse and looking at your tongue.
- If appropriate, carrying out some palpation of meridian lines/channels (feet & legs arms & hands).
- If appropriate, providing advice on diet or other lifestyle issues.
- After consideration of all the information, providing an acupuncture treatment by means of Inserting needles – depending on the nature of the problem anything from six to twenty needles may be used. However, acupuncturists aim to bring about changes or rebalancing with the fewest possible needles and typically musculo-skeletal type problems require more needles.
- Discussing the frequency and number of treatments you are likely to need and arranging your next appointment with you.
How many appointments will I need?
It is difficult to give a definite answer on this as each case is different. The beneficial effects of acupuncture are cumulative and each treatment builds on the previous one to bring about positive changes over the weeks. Generally, however, it is recommended that patients have five or six treatments at weekly intervals and after that a longer gap between treatments should be sufficient.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Insertion of the acupuncture needles is painless, but people usually experience a sensation when the needle makes contact with the energy at the acupuncture point. This can feel different for each patient, but may be a numbness, a tugging, tingling or heaviness. This initial sensation lasts a few seconds and indicates to the practitioner that the Qi is reached and influenced. All needles are sterile and single use only.
Needles may be left in place for about twenty minutes. During this time most patients experience a feeling of calm and relaxation. Immediately after treatment, especially the first time, it is common to feel quite tired.
Over the next few days, people usually notice the beginnings of change in their condition as the energy starts to rebalance. They can also experience feelings of increased energy or general relaxation. Many people find that making changes to their lifestyle and actively participating in their own healing, enhances the effects of acupuncture treatments.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture needles are very thin - like a hair. They are stainless steel and single use only so there is no risk of cross-contamination.
Acupuncture is safe for those taking prescription medications but it is important that you advise Nicola of all medicines that you take. Some people are keen to try to reduce or stop medication but this should only be considered when a condition improves and with the approval and supervision of their GP or hospital consultant.
What should I do in preparation for my appointment?
Ensure that you have had something to eat within the last few hours– a light meal or nutritious snack is ideal but a heavy meal is not recommended.
Wear loose clothing so that trouser legs roll up easily to mid-thigh and sleeves to above the elbow without causing restriction to circulation. The majority of acupuncture points used are around and below the knees to the feet and elbows to hands but points on the abdomen or the back may also be used so again, wearing something loose gives easy access to those areas without the need to undress.
Prescription medication – please bring a list of any medications you take. Continue taking medicines at your usual times.
Following a treatment, it is advisable to avoid alcohol, strenuous exercise or too many coffees but to drink plenty of water and rest as much as possible.
Book your appointment with Nicola on 07462934891 or see our Services & Fees page for more details.