What does a treatment involve?
Your first consultation will be longer than subsequent visits. I will ask you about your current symptoms and the impact they they have had on your day-to-day life. I will enquire about the treatment you have received so far, your medical history, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. I will examine your pulses on both wrists and examine your tongue . These are both considered useful guides to your physical health in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
You will usually be lying down on a treatment couch when I start the treatment. Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to the needles used for injections and taking blood. 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. Many patients do not notice when they are inserted. 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 a 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 after their treatment. they notice increased energy levels, better appetite and sleep as well as an enhanced sense of overall well being.
How often will I need a treatment?
This varies between patients. Sometimes the effects of treatment are dramatic, and only two or three treatments are required. With other patients, the effects are more subtle and they may need treatment over a longer period of time.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture as it is practiced today, is a holistic approach to health based on 3,000 years of developments and refinements in the Far East.
Although often described as a means of pain relief, it is in fact used to treat people with a wide range of illnesses. Its focus is on improving the overall well being of the patient, rather than the isolated treatment of specific symptoms.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), good health depends upon two things; an unobstructed flow through the body of energy, or chi, along 12 major channels, or meridians, and a balance between the two life forces – the cool, passive yin and warm, active yang. Illness or pain occurs when the flow of chi is blocked or when one life force dominates the other. By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy or by applying heat with a technique called Moxibustion, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response and help restore its natural balance.
The flow of Chi can be disturbed by a number of factors. These include emotional states such as anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary factors, infections, and trauma. The principal aim of acupuncture, as a holistic system of medicine, is to treat the symptom and whatever is causing it.
Acupuncture in the West
Acupuncture is now widely accepted as having an important role in healthcare in the UK. Many doctors and other healthcare professionals incorporate acupuncture into their clinical practice. It is used widely in NHS pain clinics is include in the NICE Guidance for the treatment of migraine. In some geographical areas the NHS has approved the use of acupuncture for treatment of joint pain, chronic lower back pain, temporomandibular dysfunction, morning sickness and nausea and vomiting secondary to chemotherapy. This is also recognition, through clinical research, that acupuncture may offer improvement to patients whose symptoms do not fit with a clear medical diagnosis.