All acupuncture needles are single use, pre-sterilised, disposable needles. Consequently a patient can be confident that no infection can be transmitted.
The use of acupuncture in the hands of fully qualified professional practitioners like myself is entirely safe and free of any harmful side-effects.
A Typical Acupuncture Session
Attending an acupuncturist for a course of acupuncture treatment can be somewhat different from visiting a G.P. The initial consultation can last anything between 60 and 90 minutes. A detailed case history is taken and all patients currently on a course of medication should bring them along at the first (or second) consultation.
An examination of the tongue will be carried out, and a brief physical examination will be conducted where appropriate. The entire proceedings are safeguarded by total confidentiality.
Subsequent treatment sessions will last from anything between 45 and 60 minutes. I usually see patients once a week or once a fortnight, depending on the condition being treated.
Most people find acupuncture relaxing and often feel very calm after a treatment. You may feel tired or sleepy and should take this into account if you are planning to drive or use machinery straight after your treatment. Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting such as very slight bruising.
Cupping and guasha can sometimes temporarily mark the skin. Such bruising is painless and generally clears within a a day or two.
What is Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM is a holistic healthcare system that regards pain and illness, whether physical or mental, to be a sign that the body is out of balance. Because TCM considers every bodily function to be connected and interdependent, it recognises the role emotions play in illness and disease. The overall aim of treatment is to restore the body’s equilibrium.
Acupuncture is one of the tools of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Other tools that are part of TCM are explained in the ‘techniques’ section below. I use these techniques, as well as acupuncture, when necessary.
My main focus as an acupuncturist, is on correcting the underlying cause of illness which will be different for every individual. Consequently, there are no ‘off-the-peg’ treatments or points prescriptions.
I am trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined over thousands of years. I focus on the individual, not their illness, and see all symptoms in relation to each other. Because every patient is unique, two people with the same western diagnosis will each receive different acupuncture treatments.
The underlying principle is that illness and pain occur when the body’s qi, or vital energy, cannot flow freely. The body’s energy meridians can become obstructed, in much the same way as a trapped nerve or blocked artery. This can be for any number of reasons such as emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection, or injury.
By inserting ultra-fine, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points, I seek to re-establish the free flow of qi to restore balance and trigger the body’s natural healing response.
A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that acupuncture safely treats a wide range of common health problems.
In addition to needling acupuncture points, an acupuncture treatment may include other Traditional Chinese Medicine – TCM techniques such as:
Application of indirect heat using moxa (therapeutic herbs) and/or heat lamps to warm and relax muscles and energy meridians
(Chinese therapeutic massage): to relieve muscle tension, stimulate acupressure points, open energy meridians and stimulate the flow of qi
A very low frequency electrical current (1Hz) is applied to the needle to increase blood flow, relax muscle tissue and clear stagnant qi
glass cups with a vacuum seal are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and clear stagnant qi
Vigorous rubbing of the skin to increase blood flow and clear stagnant qi
I may suggest ways in which you can enhance the long-term effects of your treatment, such as by making changes to your diet and daily routine. If necessary you will be referred to other healthcare practitioners for specialist care.
Number of Treatments
Since each person is unique the number of treatments needed, will vary. Among the determining factors are the following:
• The nature of the complaint – whether it is chronic or acute.
• The general state of health and well being of the patient
• The frequency and type of treatment administered may determine the likely outcome of therapy.
• The adherence of the patient to the instructions of the acupuncturist can also influence the speed of recovery or otherwise the skill and experience of the practitioner cannot be discounted.
I will discuss the treatment programme with the patient.