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 60mins long.
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 use palpation in a number of different ways, one is by taking your pulse. This involves me gently holding your wrist while I hold my fingers over the pulse. I may also ask to look at your tongue, both the tongue and pulse help to give me more information about what is happening inside your body.
The other thing that I may do, is gently feel your abdomen/belly. 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 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.
All of this information helps me to come to a diagnosis which in turn helps me come up with a treatment plan, and which points to choose.
With your permission I will apply acupuncture needles (fine filiform 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 may re-palpate any areas that were identified as being painful in the palpation stage, or ask you to do a movement to 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 30 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!). Please be aware that I will generally leave you while the needles are in- but be assured that I can come back in if needed as I am still close by- if you are feeling nervous about this please let me know at the time of booking so that I can ensure I am able to remain with you for the duration.
Massage and/or Moxibustion
After the needles are removed I generally 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 lower back 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, or other techniques you can use at home to continue the treatment.
I will provide you with a written list of any advice/recommendations that I have discussed, and email you any handouts that I recommend you look over.
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.
Still have questions?
Please send me an email and ask!