Frequently Asked Questions
Is Acupuncture suitable for me?
Acupuncture can be used to treat an enormous variety of conditions from sporting injuries to digestive upsets or even the common cold. Anyone from newborns to the elderly can benefit from a course of treatment. Acupuncture is a very safe and effective form of medicine with a history of many thousands of years. It can be used not only for the treatment of conditions or illnesses but also to help keep you well and prevent illness taking hold.
What should I do before treatment?
It is better to avoid drinking coffee or eating a large meal immediately prior to acupuncture but don’t arrive at the clinic feeling really hungry, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Cigarettes, caffeine or recreational drugs make it more difficult for your practitioner to accurately diagnose your condition.
What happens during a typical treatment?
Chinese Medicine is a wholistic treatment and your practitioner will take an extensive case history, covering every aspect of your health, diet and lifestyle before making a diagnosis. This may include asking seemingly unrelated questions about such things as your response to changes in the weather, your menstrual cycle even if the condition you are attending for is not related to your cycle or whether you sleep with your feet out from under the blankets! Your answers will help identify patterns of disharmony which will allow your practitioner to make a more accurate diagnosis. Your practitioner will also take your pulse on both wrists and may ask to look at your tongue as both provide valuable information about your constitution and presenting condition.
After making a diagnosis your practitioner will decide the appropriate treatment. This may be acupuncture or Chinese herbs separately or in combination or may include the use of moxibustion, tui-na, or gua sha. Your practitioner may also make recommendations regarding your diet and lifestyle.
In comparison to needles which are used for an injection or to take blood, acupuncture needles are very fine – not much thicker than a human hair. A typical treatment will involve the insertion of 8-10 acupuncture needles into points which may be selected either close to the affected area or as far away from it as possible. The needles must stay in place for approximately 20-25 minutes, during which time most people drift into a state of deep relaxation or may even go to sleep.
Will it hurt?
Most new patients are amazed how painless acupuncture is – the thought is worse than the reality. When the correct stimulus of the needle has been obtained and the Qi has been activated, the patient may feel some heaviness, distension, tingling or electric sensation either around the needle or travelling up or down the affected energy pathway or meridian.
What should I do after a treatment?
Energetic changes in the body will continue for some time after the needles have been removed so it is preferable to avoid any strenuous activity immediately after treatment. To avoid undoing the effects of the treatment it is also better not to consume any alcohol or recreational drugs.
How will I feel after acupuncture?
Depending on the type of treatment you have received, you may feel very relaxed and calm or you may feel revitalized and more clear-headed. It is not unusual to feel like resting after a treatment and occasionally your symptoms may flare for a short time before settling. Generally the effects of the treatment will be more obvious the following day.
Should I tell my doctor?
Yes – it is possible that a course of acupuncture may reduce your need for some medications so it is essential that your GP is aware that you are receiving treatment. Most medical doctors are supportive of acupuncture treatment and it is better for you if all your healthcare practitioners are able to work together.