First appointment: 1- 1 and half hours
Follow up appointments: 30 minutes – 1 hour
The first appointment will typically take longer as a full consultation is taken. Yet the initial treatment may be smaller in order to assess how your body responds to treatment. Follow up appointments will take less time; an update will be taken and a full treatment carried out.
You will be asked about your current symptoms and health condition and a brief medical history will be taken. It is helpful to bring along a list of your medications if you are taking any. As TCM addresses the whole person, further questions will be asked about other aspects of your life such as sleep, digestion and emotions. Observations may be carried out to aid the diagnosis which may include taking your pulses on both wrists and a quick view of your tongue. If you are seeking treatment for a physical complaint or muscular injury a brief physical examination may be performed.
The practitioner will then discuss with you the next steps and suggest a course of treatment. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and to decide whether you want to proceed with treatment.
For treatment you may be asked to lie on the couch or sit in a chair. Depending on the areas of the body to be treated, you may need to undress (keeping underwear on). Removal of clothing is usually minimal. You will be left to undress in private and given towels to cover your body. You are welcome to have someone accompany you into the treatment.
Depending on the patient and condition being treated the needles may be left in for 20 - 30 minutes whilst you relax. The needles are then removed and the treatment is concluded.
What it feels like
The treatment itself involves inserting very fine needles in various parts of the body. These needles are sterile and single use only which are disposed of immediately after use. As they are very fine needles insertion is often painless. When needles are inserted, the patient may feel a tingling sensation or a dull ache. Most patients find the treatment a relaxing and pleasant experience. Treatment may also include massage, acupressure, seeds or magnets, cupping and warming the needles (moxibustion).
The amount and frequency of sessions required will vary depending on the patient and the condition they are seeking treatment for. Acupuncturists like to see some change by treatment three to five and sometimes significant improvements are seen by the first or second visit. Others may require more long-term care or may retuen for periodic maintenance treatments. As your acupuncturist I will discuss with you your individual needs.
Acupuncture is safe and suitable for all ages and for a wide range of conditions. As a BAcC memeber strict health and safety rules and codes of conduct are complied with as well as local by-laws governing treatment.
The needles used are always sterile, single use and disposed of immediatey after treatment. We follow strict clinical waste guidelines enforced by the BAcC and Environmental Health. As BAcC acupuncturists we are trained to a high standard and comply with continued profesional development and first aid training.
Two independent surveys published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 (MacPherson Et al. and White Et al. Sptember 2001) concluded that the risk of serious adverse reactions to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000.
As acupuncture is a gentle treatment, adverse effecs are rare. Sometimes responses to treatment can include tiredness or mild dizziness. On a rare occasion minor bruising may occur. These reactions are short lived if they are experienced.
Acupuncture is a gentle treatment that can be used by most and at any age. If there are contraindications the practitioner will discuss these with you and if acupuncture is not suitable, other treatments will be offered or referral to another service.
Many seek acupuncture treatment for help with specific symptoms or pains. Whilst others may seek treatment because they feel generally unwell but have no obvious diagnosis. Some choose acupuncture to enhance their feeling of wellbeing and maintain good health balance.
If you are a blood donor
Please note that the National Blood Service does not accept blood donations from people who have received acupuncture in the last four months (unless treatment has been given within the NHS). Please visit National Blood Service website for more details.
A wide range of health conditions are seen in clinic, some of which are given below:
Please contact the clinic to see if treatment may beneift you.
Please visit the British Acupuncture Council website for fact sheets on research into acupuncture working with various conditions.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) gave guidelines to the NHS in 2009 recommending acupuncture for non-specific lower back pain and for headchaes / migraine in 2012.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) published a document in 2003 containing a list of ailments for which acupuncture can be useful for, and supports the list with reported clinical trials. Please see link. ‘Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Controlled Clinical Trials' .
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