Can acupuncture help me?
Acupuncture is safe and beneficial for all, from babies to the elderly. Acupuncture is a gentle treatment that works by stimulating your body’s own healing mechanisms; therefore there are no dangerous or unpleasant side effects. In fact, you just feel wonderfully relaxed.
The beauty of acupuncture is that it is truly holistic. As a practitioner, I consider everything that you are experiencing in your body and emotions, your lifestyle, your personality, and work to put things back into balance. I will look for the root of the problem, rather than simply treating the symptoms, so improvement should be long-lasting.
Because the aim of acupuncture is to put you back into a state of balance, it is helpful in treating all problems whether acute or chronic pain, illness or mental health. You may simply be feeling a bit low on energy or out of sorts. And acupuncture is a wonderful preventative medicine – by keeping your body in balance you maintain your good health. Much like taking your car for a service!
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese system of medicine. Its roots date back 2000 years but the practice of acupuncture has developed to incorporate modern techniques.
The philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is holistic and patient-centred. TCM practitioners believe that each patient is individual in their constitutional make-up and their experiences of illness. We focus on the causes behind an illness, not just the symptoms. Because of this, each patient will receive a treatment devised just for them. We do not use the same points or techniques with every patient – we work with what your own body needs.
Acupuncture involves the placement of very fine, sterile, single-use needles into specific points on the body. We use the needles to activate the flow of “Qi”, or energy, around the meridians of the body. Needles are usually retained for about 20 minutes for each treatment.
We also use other techniques such as massage, acupressure (where we massage acu-points), moxa (a herb that is safely burnt to add warmth to the body) and cupping. As TCM is holistic and takes into account your whole body and lifestyle, we may also offer some lifestyle and dietary advice to help you supplement your treatments and bring about more permanent and significant change in your health.
When acupuncture was suggested as a relief from pain in my wrists, I was dubious. Now I am a convert as results were instantaneous and long lasting. Thank you Emma for suggesting it.
How safe is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies available in the UK. As a member of the British Acupuncture Council I have received 3 years post-graduate training and am fully insured. The British Acupuncture Council is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). Acupuncture practitioners are trained not only in Chinese Medicine theory but also Western Medicine, anatomy and physiology, and therapeutic massage. As part of our training we spend many hours working in the student clinic, treating patients under supervision. Due to this very detailed level of training we are very experienced by the time we qualify.
Acupuncture points are carefully selected for use in each individual case and we do not use any that may be contra-indicated (such as during pregnancy).There are no major side effects to acupuncture treatment, but you may feel very relaxed or slightly lightheaded after a treatment. Occasionally you may experience a short-lived increase of your symptoms before improvement, but this is normal and part of the healing process.
Does it hurt? What if I don’t like needles?
Acupuncture is generally painless. It is rare to feel the needle being inserted at all as they are so fine, but you may get a sensation as the needle comes into contact with your Qi and “hits the spot”. This will usually be a dull throbbing sensation which wears off quickly. If you are in any pain or discomfort during treatment, you only have to tell me and I will remove or reposition the needle.
It is not unusual for patients to be wary of the needles on their first visit. Let me assure you, they are nothing like the hyperdermic needles you will have come across at the doctor’s! They are the width of a human hair, and my party trick is inserting them into and removing them from balloons without them popping. Most of these patients don’t even realise that I have inserted them. However, if you are very nervous about the needles we simply won’t use them until you are comfortable with me doing so. We can use massage and other techniques instead.
There is no chance of cross-contamination from acupuncture needles as they are single-use only, and come in individual, sterilised packs, opened as used.
How often will I need treatment?
This is one of those “how long is a piece of string” questions, and difficult to generalise. Acupuncture is cumulative and thus becomes more effective the more treatments you have; you may not be aware of any changes after the first couple of treatments but that doesn’t mean it isn’t working.
As a basic rule of thumb, acute problems resolve faster and chronic problems may take some time. So one patient may only need 3 or 4 treatments over a couple of weeks while another may need treatment for years to maintain their health.
Most patients would have a series of 6-8 treatments before we review how to proceed long-term. You may be completely better and no longer need treatment, or you may need a “top up” treatment once a month to keep everything working properly. Each patient and case is different.
Frequency of treatments also varies a great deal. We consider your presenting condition along with basic logistics – what can you afford? How much time do you have available? A very acute problem may warrant 2-3 treatments in a week, but most commonly I see patients weekly or fortnightly.
How much does it cost?
Your first appointment will be a double session (90 mins) to allow time for a detailed consultation and full treatment. This is £50.00.
Further treatments (45-60 mins) are £40.00.
What if I’m still not sure?
You can ask me any other questions you may have by filling out a contact form or giving me a call on 07719 927488.
If you would prefer to come and see how it all works we can arrange a free 20 minute taster session to talk about your needs and whether acupuncture is right for you.