What should I wear for treatment?
Our intention is to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible, ensuring privacy and dignity at all times. Light, loose clothing is preferable. You will not usually be asked to remove clothing, unless the treatment requires. If suffering with neck or shoulder pain, it is useful to have long hair tied back.
What can I expect during my appointment?
On your first visit you will experience an initial confidential consultation.
Questions will be asked about aspects of your health and medical history, including a summary of any medications you are taking. If you have a long medical history, it is useful to bring a list of your conditions in chronological order where possible. Sometimes it will be helpful to do a general medical review including checking blood pressure. A look at your tongue and feeling your pulse on both wrists will also help with diagnosis.
Following this initial consultation, fine needles are gently inserted and left in place (for approximately 20 minutes) in the appropriate points that relate to the symptoms described. Acupuncture understands that energy channels range across the whole body, therefore the points used are not necessarily close to where you experience pain or discomfort, or where the desired affect is expected. For example, if you suffer from headaches, needles might be inserted into your foot or hand. Sometimes it is appropriate to place and burn moxa (a medicinal herb) onto needles. The moxa enhances treatment by warming the body, relaxing muscles and moving ‘stuck’ energy that can manifest as pain.
Another treatment that may be appropriate is “cupping”. Silicon cups with a vacuum seal are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and release energy.
For subsequent visits, you will continue to experience further consultations, particularly around any changes since your previous treatment.
What does it feel like?
Clients often describe the needle sensation as a tingling or dull ache, which is one of the signs that energy (qi) has been stimulated. The needles are made of very fine stainless steel and are often barely felt at all. You might feel an initial tingling sensation in another part of the body as the needle enters. This is because energy channels run to and from the upper and lower body. You may be needled around your knee but feel it in your toes. The silicon cups, when moved, glide over oiled skin and it feels like a massage. Overall, the treatment can be relaxing and stimulating at the same time.
What can I expect after my treatment?
After your treatment, you may feel a little tired or sleepy and should take this into account if you are planning to drive or use heavy machinery straight after the session.
You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment.
You may feel better on the day of your treatment but it can also take a few days to feel the benefits. Chronic conditions (of greater than 6 weeks) typically take longer to treat than acute conditions, so you may need several sessions for maximum relief and an occasional “maintenance” appointment.
You’ll be advised of this after your first treatment.
What are the side effects?
Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting. Cupping can sometimes temporarily mark the skin.
Such marking is painless and generally clears within a day or two.
For more information on how acupuncture can help a variety of conditions with summaries of research, please refer to the recommended reading link, or visit the British Acupuncture Council at https://www.acupuncture.org.uk.