Never had acupuncture before, not quite sure what to expect in an acupuncture treatment?
That’s ok, I will walk you through a typical treatment so that you can feel completely comfortable and there are no unexpected surprises!
Short and long-term
I look at the whole picture. This means that while you enjoy short-term relief, I am also working to address any underlying causes. The result? Long-term results are more likely to be achieved.
Initial appointments are between 1-1.5hrs long, depending on how long it takes to complete your history (more on that below).
Follow up appointments are between 50-60mins long (depending on how much is going on with your body at the time).
Please allow for the full length when organising the appointment to ensure I am able to complete all aspects of your treatment.
What to expect
Chinese medicine has a very wholistic view of your body, and reasons as to why you might be getting different symptoms. As such when I take your history I will be asking questions relating to all aspects of your health, not just your current presenting condition. If at any point you don’t feel comfortable answering some of the questions then that is totally ok- I won’t push you for further information. Questions may relate to: pain, sleep patterns, energy levels, menstruation history, obstetric history, digestion, emotions, or skin conditions to name a few areas.
After a history is taken, you will hop onto the table, either face down, or on your back depending on what you are being treated for.
Most patients don’t need to remove any clothing, as most of the needles I use are in the hands or feet. If you do need to remove any clothing you will be provided with towels to drape yourself.
Palpation means to touch, which is another way I gather information about your body. I will ask you to provide feedback about any points that are sore, or feel different than expected when gently pushed on.
If you are lying on your back I will ask you to lift your shirt up to the base of your ribs to expose your stomach so that I can palpate different areas of your abdomen, this information helps to guide what points I will needle.
If you are on lying on your stomach I may ask you to remove your shirt before you lie down (I will leave the room while you do so), so that I can palpate down the full length of your spine. Again, this information helps to guide which points I will choose for your treatment.
I may palpate areas of your neck or feet- depending on what I have found elsewhere.
If you are presenting with pain, I may gently palpate the surrounding area to get a better idea of what you are experiencing.
With your permission I will apply acupuncture needles to different areas of your body. They are often in an area completely different to where your “problem” area is (for example I might put a needle in your foot for a headache)! After the needles are in I generally go back and re-palpate any areas that were identified as being painful in the palpation stage, and see if the sensation has changed or reduced.
I may ask you at this stage how your symptoms are feeling, to see if any further needles are required to help ease your symptoms.
If at any stage in the treatment you feel uncomfortable, please tell me so that I can adjust needles, or remove them if required.
You can read more about the different between needles that are used for injections and acupuncture needles here.
Once the needles are in, they will remain there for approximately 20-25 minutes, during this time you are welcome to close your eyes, relax and listen to the music, or you can chat to me if I am in the room (what ever you want!).
Massage and/or Moxibustion
After the needles are removed I may use some moxa over any problem areas you have, or I will get you to sit up and use it on your lower back. Moxa is the use of the herb mugwort, it has a lovely warm radiating heat that feels divine (I am yet to meet someone who hasn’t enjoyed it)! I will show you what I am doing, and demonstrate on myself so that you are able to gain an understanding before I apply the technique to you.
I will often give you a short massage before or after using the moxa, to help you be as relaxed as possible when you walk out the door. During this stage I may use a herbal linament to aid in helping to reduce any residual pain (I will go through this with you before it is applied).
Your treatment plan
After you have finished your treatment I will talk to you about what will happen next. I may suggest a change in your diet, or lifestyle (for example an increase/reduction in exercise, a change to sleep patterns, or diet). I may also offer some points you can perform acupressure on between treatments.
An effective treatment plan usually requires more than one consultation to ensure your symptoms abate and do not return. I will discuss your best options and respect your right to decide on further action.
Any questions not answered?
Please send me an email and let me know!