Will I feel the needles?
The style of acupuncture I mainly practice (Five Elements Traditional Acupuncture) is very gentle and the acupuncture needles are extremely fine, approximately the thickness of a hair. They are very different from the needles used by a nurse or doctor to give injections. Sensation may vary from person to person but is commonly described as tingling, heat, tickling or dull ache. The sensation only lasts a short time and generally only four to ten needles are used during each treatment.
Acupuncture is not a painful treatment, it is surprisingly relaxing and many people will fall asleep on the couch!
What will happen on my first visit?
Your first consultation may be longer than subsequent sessions. It can take up to 1.5 hours and you will be asked about your current symptoms, your medical history, current medication, diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. This will be followed by the traditional pulse & tongue diagnosis where your pulse on both arms is taken, along with a quick inspection of your tongue. Your blood pressure may be taken, followed by a short abdominal examination which involves gentle pressure over different areas of the abdomen. This traditional diagnostic will determine the most appropriate treatment for balancing your body’s energy.
It is best to eat a few hours before your treatment, or at least have a light snack before the treatment. Also, many of the acupuncture points are below the knee and below the elbow and can be more easily accessed if you wear loose and comfortable clothes.
Most people feel rested and relaxed after an acupuncture treatment, and it is a good idea to give yourself some quiet time after your treatment and avoid engaging in strenuous activity. Your first visit will last up to an hour and a half and you will get your first treatment in that time. Subsequent treatments usually last between 45 min-1 hour, and include a discussion of your progress.
How often will I need to have treatment?
Everyone is unique, therefore your response to treatment will also be unique. Some people respond quickly and notice immediate benefits while others may take slightly longer to notice an improvement.
As a general rule I usually recommend about 4 weekly treatments to make a significant change, by this time you should know what effect the acupuncture is having on your system. After that we can diminish frequency of treatments depending on what suits you. At every treatment, we discuss what effect the acupuncture is having so you can decide how often you need a treatment. Usually, once the initial problem is more stable then people might come once every 4 or 6 weeks for a top up treatment.
Please note that if your problem is related to a menstrual issue then you will probably need treatment more regularly in order to balance hormones.
Is it safe?
Yes, it is safe, if practiced by somebody who has been trained to a high standard and is fully insured and licensed. The needles used are single-use, sterile and disposable and researchers have found acupuncture to be a safe and effective treatment. Responses to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness, and occasionally minor bruising may occur. However, all such reactions are short-lived. Patients are asked to give a full medical history during their first appointment and this will be taken into account when planning treatments.
How can Acupuncture help me in my pregnancy?
Acupuncture can give an overall sense of calmness and well being, particularly useful for you and your baby during a pregnancy. In addition Acupuncture can be useful for any pre existing condition that you now feel unable to take medication for as well as most pregnancy related problems.