What to expect when you come for acupuncture
"Sharon is very thorough and takes your full history before starting treatment. She ensures you know what to expect and puts you at ease." Mike
What happens on the first visit?
I'll carry out a full diagnosis. I'll start by asking you in detail about the reason you've come for acupuncture, usually the condition for which you would like treatment. I'll also ask many questions to find out how well the rest of your body/mind is functioning, and take your medical history. After that I'll take your pulse at three positions on each wrist to assess the quality of the pulse, not just the pulse rate. I'll examine your tongue and possibly feel the relative temperature of different areas of your body.
Finally, I'll carry out a treatment. Often this involves leaving a few needles in for around 20 minutes, followed by the brief insertion of needles at a few more points.
The first visit will be your longest, usually taking around two hours.
How should I prepare for treatment?
Generally, you should avoid extremes of anything before and after acupuncture, as they may cloud diagnosis or reduce the effectiveness of treatment.
Examples of what to avoid:
Ideally, you should try to rest and relax after treatment, and increase your intake of fluids. It's also important that you don't immediately stop taking any medication prescribed by your doctor.
It's a good idea to wear loose clothing. This way, unless I need to access points on your chest or back, you will be able to remain dressed. I also ask patients to avoid wearing make-up or perfume, as they may hinder the diagnosis.
How will I feel after acupuncture?
After your first treatment, you may feel relaxed, tired or energetic and refreshed, but it's still important to take it easy for the rest of the day.
Sometimes patients' symptoms are slightly aggravated following a treatment. This is often part of the healing process, but drinking plenty of water should help in many cases.
How many treatments are required and how often?
Acupuncture treatments are accumulative in their effect. At first, it's important to come for regular treatments, usually once a week. Often, symptoms will be alleviated for a couple of days, then start to return as the week goes on. Each acupuncture treatment builds on the previous one, restoring balance to your body. If you leave it too long between treatments, you will undo some of this good work, allowing disharmony (and symptoms) to re-emerge.
There are no hard and fast rules, it depends on the person. Some people/conditions respond very quickly (within a couple of treatments), others can be more challenging, particularly if there is a chronic complaint. Usually, I suggest allowing 5 or 6 weekly treatments. When your health starts to improve, we can stretch out your treatment intervals, and you might return for just seasonal treatments, or if you're feeling under the weather.