What to expect

Chinese medicine sees the body as an integrated whole. Therefore in order to understand your condition a detailed case history will be taken that will include questions about your general health, as well as the main problem. Questions will be asked about your current symptoms, previous treatments, past medical history, dietary habits and digestive system, lifestyle, menstrual cycle (for women), sleep and mood. Examination also includes observation of tongue and pulse and gentle palpation on the body if you are attending for pain.

After the consultation you will be advised which areas of the body are needed to be accessed for needling. You will be left alone to make yourself comfortable on the acupuncture bed and blankets and towels are always available. Once the needles are inserted you will be left to relax and enjoy the treatment for between 20 to 30 minutes, with the needles being checked half way through the treatment. Once the treatment is complete, you will be left alone to get dressed in your own time. Naturopathic recommendations to enhance the effect of the acupuncture treatment and treat your condition will then be discussed.

Patients often experience a feeling of complete relaxation during treatment. When the treatment is over it is a good idea to have some personal space to relax somewhere quiet or go for a gentle walk in the fresh air. It is also advised not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment. Some people feel a little bit drowsy after the treatment but this is no cause for concern.

One or all of the following techniques might be used during the treatment depending on your condition:

Needles – Fine needles are inserted into acupuncture points on the body. Needles of different sizes are used depending on the area of the body. The needles are much finer than injections and the sensation produced is often described as a dull ache or tingling. Most sensation dies down after the needle has been in for a few minutes.

Cupping – this can be used to help with pain and eliminate heat from the body. A vacuum is created inside a glass or plastic cup and applied to the body. Cups may also be used with oil on the back for massage. If cups are used, there may be a round mark left on the body for 1 – 2 days. We will always check first that you do not have an important event to attend in the coming week which exposes the area being treated by cupping.

Electro acupuncture – this is very effective for pain and for weight loss. A low current is applied to the needles, stimulating the flow energy and blood.

Moxa – this is a Chinese herb (mugwort) which is heated and held over the acupuncture point or attached to the needle. It is a very comforting treatment and is good for a variety of conditions, warming the body and stimulating circulation. If moxa is used, you will feel a mild warming sensation on the area being treated.

Heat lamp – the heat lamp is used to warm specific areas of the body if heat is required to move Qi and relieve pain. It is also good for warming the body in general and stimulating the flow of Qi and blood. The heat lamp will provide a comforting warmth in the body and will be regularly checked to ensure it does not get too hot.

Acute conditions can improve after 2-4 treatments while chronic conditions might take a little longer. Most symptoms should show signs of improvement after 4 to 6 treatments. An average course of treatment is between 6 and 10 weekly sessions.