What will happen on my first visit?
Your first consultation may be longer than subsequent sessions. Your general state of health needs to be assessed in order to identify the underlying pattern of disharmony and give you the most effective treatment.
You may be asked about your current symptoms and what treatment you have received so far, your medical history and that of your close family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. To discover how the energies are flowing in your body, your pulses will be assessed on both wrists for their quality, rhythm, depth and strength.
The structure, colour and coating of your tongue also gives a good guide to your physical health. Once enough information has been gathered to determine the likely causes of your problems, the most appropriate treatment can be selected.
The aim is to discover which energy channels need adjusting for your specific complaint to improve, and which require treatment to boost your overall energy and vitality.
Loose, comfortable clothing should be worn as points on your torso as well as on your arms and legs may need to be accessed.
Stimulation of specific areas on or beneath the skin affects the functioning of certain organs in the body. However, those areas may not be close to the part of the body where the problem is experienced. For example, although you may suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted in your foot or hand.
There are around 500 such acupuncture points on the body, and anywhere between two and twelve of these may be selected for use during each treatment. It is quite usual that, during a course of treatment, different points will be selected as a condition changes.
Acupuncture needles may be supplemented during a treatment by using moxa, a smouldering herb which is used to warm acupuncture points to encourage the body’s energy to flow smoothly. Other methods of stimulating acupuncture points include using lasers or electro-acupuncture. Massage, cupping or tapping are techniques particularly suitable for small children or for people with a fear of needles.
What does it feel like?
Most people’s experience of needles is of those used in injections and blood tests. Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to these. They are much finer and are solid rather than hollow. When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache. Needles are inserted either for a second or two, or may be left in place for 30 minutes or more, depending on the effect required.
During treatment, patients commonly experience heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation. The benefits of acupuncture frequently include more than just relief from a particular condition. Many people find that it can also lead to increased energy levels, better appetite and sleep as well as an enhanced sense of overall well being.