What happens on your first acupuncture visit?
You will have an in-depth consultation which aims to get a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. You will be asked about your current symptoms, what treatment you have received, your medical history, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. Your pulse and blood pressure will be taken and your tongue will be examined A diagnosis is made and a personal treatment plan is discussed that will benefit your main complaint. A treatment follows the consultation.
How many treatments will I need?
Frequency and length of treatment depend on individual conditions. Some change is usually felt after five treatments, although occasionally only one or two treatments are required. Some patients may need longer term treatment if they have chronic conditions. Most patients come weekly for treatment for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Throughout this time your progress will be monitored and treatments will not be prolonged unnecessarily.
Should my doctor know?
If you have been prescribed medication it makes sense to tell your doctor that you are planning to have acupuncture. You should always tell your acupuncturist about any of your medical conditions or medication you are taking as this may affect your response to the acupuncture treatment.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture has a very sound track record. The needles are single-use, sterile and disposable; they are opened in front of you and are safely disposed of after each treatment. Responses to treatment can sometimes include tiredness or mild dizziness, and on occasion minor bruising may occur. However, all such reactions are short-lived. The results of two independent surveys published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2001 (McPhearson et al and White et al) concluded that the risk of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 100,000. I am a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and abide by their strict codes of safe practice.
What does it feel like?
Acupuncture needles are much finer than needles used for injections and blood tests. When the needle is inserted, the sensation, which only lasts for a few seconds, is often described as a tingling or dull ache. Needles are frequently left in place for up to twenty minutes, depending upon the effect required. The needles come sealed in individual packs and are used once only, then disposed of safely after each treatment.
What can acupuncture do for me?
Acupuncture is widely considered to be beneficial for a range of illnesses and symptoms, from clearly defined complaints such as headaches, nausea, neck ache, and back, arthritic, and dental pain, through to more general feelings of ill health such as tiredness.
How should I pay for the treatments?
Payment is made by cheque or cash; receipts are provided.