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The initial examination takes up to two hours and includes a thorough medical and personal history, description of complaints, a review of the functioning of the systems of the body, and a physical examination. This includes the taking of the Chinese pulses [usually felt at the wrist] from which the practitioner can determine the state of the energy in each of the major organs and functions. Using the diagnostic tools of Classical Five-Element Acupuncture, an assessment is made of the condition of your Ch’i energy and the underlying cause of your condition is determined. From all of this information, a treatment plan is developed, unique to you.
The first treatment will be a traditional diagnosis and will require two hours. Thereafter appointments are generally scheduled for one hour. Prior to each treatment, you will have ample time to talk about how you’ve been, how you feel, and what’s happening in your life, which is essential information for the practitoner to determine exactly the treatment that is called for at that time. The pulses are read and moxa and/or needles are applied. The response to the treatment will be assessed by reading the pulses. Dietary and other lifestyle recommendations will be discussed at appropriate times throughout treatment.
Yes. The healing process will not be affected in any way by the patient’s skeptical attitude, though it does help to be favourably disposed to any treatment for which you are having for a health issue.
More than 50% of people don’t feel the needle going in. In most cases only a slight prick is felt as the needle goes through the skin. When the needle reaches the acupuncture point there is another sensation often described as a dull ache. The sensation felt is generally acceptable and only lasts 1 or 2 seconds. During treatment, patients commonly experience a heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation.
The needles I use are much finer than those used for injections or withdrawing blood. I use pre-sterilised disposable needles.
There have been three surveys in the last decade which have shown that acupuncture is amongst the safest therapies in use in the UK and Ireland today. Out of 68,000 recorded treatments in two of the 2001 surveys, there were only 14 minor (bruising, feeling nauseous) adverse events. There have been very few reports of serious adverse events, and most adverse effects are transient, lasting no more than a day or so.
Moxa is a medicinal herb whose healing properties are activated when heated – it is wonderful for rejuvenating your energy on all levels and ensuring the smooth flow of energy. Moxa is made from the stripped and dried leaves of a Chinese mugwort-like herb called artemisia vulgaris latiflora. It is like a brown-coloured wool in appearance. The moxa is formed into cones and placed on the acupuncture point. Like needles, moxa revitalises, reinforces, invigorates, and restores balance and harmony to the vital energy.
It is suggested that you eat only a light meal during the two hours before and after treatment and that no alcohol is consumed on the day of treatment, in order to maximise the effectiveness of treatment. Allow yourself to take things as easy as possible afterwards for at least two hours. Avoid having a hot bath following treatment.
I am a member of, and adhere to, the professional standards of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). The BAcC maintains common standards of education, ethics, discipline and practice to ensure the health and safety of the public at all times.
Most people will need treatment once or twice during the first week and then once a week thereafter until some improvement has been maintained. Then the treatments will be gradually spaced further apart until there is only a need for a check-up at the change of each season. Some people will need extensive treatment whereas others will need only a few treatments. The duration and frequency of treatment depends on the severity of the imbalance, how long the person has had it and whether there is anything in the person’s lifestyle that is interfering with the progress of the healing.
You may notice a marked improvement in your main complaint straight away. Often the initial improvements are in the overall state of health and the improvement in your main complaint will follow on quickly. In rare cases there may be a short-term flair-up of your symptoms, however this will quickly settle with ongoing treatment and is usually part of the healing process. The length of time a condition has been present is important in assessing how quickly you are likely to improve. Also, because this system of medicine is treating all of the person – body, mind and spirit – the patient will often experience an enhanced quality of life and improved sense of well being.
It is sensible to tell your Doctor that you are having acupuncture. I see Classical Five-Element Acupuncture as COMPLEMENTARY to other systems of medicine or treatment. For instance, if your Doctor is treating you for the same complaint, I want to work together with your Doctor to get you better.
British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) members have an extensive training in acupuncture (to undergraduate degree level) and in biomedical sciences appropriate to the practice of acupuncture in the UK and Ireland. As well as being covered by full Medical Malpractice and Public/ Products Liability Insurance, BAcC members are bound by codes of professional conduct and safe practice.