Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen on my first treatment?
Your first consultation will be longer than subsequent sessions. The acupuncturist needs to assess your general state of health in order to identify the underlying patterns of disharmony, and give you the most effective treatment. You will be asked about your current symptoms and what treatment you have received so far, your medical history and that of your close family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. The acupuncturist will then select the most appropriate treatment for you. To discover how the energies are flowing in your body, the acupuncturist will feel your pulses on both wrists, noting their quality, rhythm and strength. They will also look at the structure, colour and coating of your tongue to give a good indication of your physical health. The aim is to discover which energy channels need adjusting for your specific complaint to improve, and which require treatment to boost your overall energy and vitality.
What should I do before treatment?
You should avoid eating a large meal within an hour of your appointment as the process of digestion will alter the pattern of your pulse. You should also avoid alcohol, and food or drinks which colour your tongue, such as coffee, immediately prior to treatment.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is generally considered to be very safe. Research shows that serious side effects are very rare. The needles used are sterile and non-toxic, used once only and then disposed of safely.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid and hair-thin. People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Patients may experience a tingling or dull ache at the point of insertion, and during treatment they may feel a heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation.
How will I feel after receiving acupuncture?
Some people are energised after a treatment, while others feel relaxed and calm. If the treatment has been particularly strong you could feel quite tired or drowsy for a few hours, and you should take this into account if you are planning to drive or use machinery. Occasionally there may be a short term flair-up of your symptoms as your chi clears and resettles itself.
Should I tell my doctor?
If you are receiving treatment from your doctor then it is sensible to mention that you plan to have acupuncture. The acupuncture treatment may enable you to reduce or even stop taking some forms of medication, but you should always consult your doctor regarding any change of prescription. Your acupuncturist needs to know about any medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
This varies between patients; sometimes conditions can be addressed in two or three treatments, others require a different approach over a longer period of time. Once symptoms are better, people often decide to continue treatment to address other issues or to maintain their well being.