What to expect
When you come for acupuncture treatment, you’ll get plenty of time to discuss all aspects of your health. This gives us a holistic picture of what’s going on and allows me to tailor your treatment and advice according to your needs. We’ll formulate a treatment plan and assess your progress regularly as you come for treatments.
Your initial consultation will last around 90 minutes. Most of the time will be spent discussing your main complaint as well as all other aspects of your health. In addition to asking questions, I’ll undertake a physical examination which will vary according to your health complaints, but may include abdominal, postural and joint examinations, and will usually include an examination of the pulses (taken at both wrists) and the tongue. Your initial consultation will also include a treatment.
Treatment is aimed at the root of your condition as well as your main symptoms. This approach helps with resolving your problem and enhancing your feeling of wellbeing. You may notice other niggling problems resolve as your main health complaint improves.
Following your initial consultation, you will usually be asked to come for weekly treatments. Each treatment will last around 45 minutes to one hour.
It is impossible to predict how many treatments will be needed or how soon treatments can be spaced further apart, as each case will be different. As a guideline, people typically see significant improvements within the first four or five treatments.
Depending on the problem and the points to be used, you may be asked to take off items of clothing, but I’ll offer you blankets or a gown and leave the room while you change. I try to choose points that require as little undressing as possible and tui na massage is normally performed through clothing.
Over the years, I’ve learnt and experimented with a variety of acupuncture styles and treatment techniques. This has given me quite a wide range of approaches to select from when giving treatments, but this will give you an idea of what you might expect:
Quite often I’ll start by releasing tension using tui na massage, cupping and/or gua sha. I don’t use many needles (maybe 2 – 12 per session) – they usually don’t hurt at all as they’re inserted but may feel sore or achy for a bit when activated. Sometimes they’ll be around the area that hurts and sometimes they’ll be further away, maybe even on the opposite limb.
Treatment is sometimes very physical, releasing tense muscles or breaking down fascial adhesions, and sometimes it is based more on traditional Chinese medicine and channel theory. I think having the flexibility to use both approaches has improved my success in treating a wider range of conditions. Treatment may be strong or gentle depending on what you need and how physically robust you are, but people generally find treatment to be very relaxing and often even fall asleep.
I’ll quite often look at your posture and may suggest exercises or other lifestyle modifications that can help support your treatment.