Traditional acupuncture (which Anna and Sarah practise) is part of a system of medicine known as traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM. It has been used in China and other Far Eastern countries for thousands of years. TCM may also use herbal medicine, diet and exercise to improve health.
TCM looks at each as an individual and tailors treatment to suit your particular needs. It is a holistic treatment, which means we are interested in you as a whole person and not just your symptoms. For instance we take into account your environment (both social and physical), your work, your personal and medical history and your lifestyle. Acupuncture can work with your emotions and spirit, as well as a huge range of physical problems.
What can acupuncture do for me?
Many people come for acupuncture to get help with a specific problem. Acupuncture can be used as a way of maintaining good health as well, and as a way to focus your attention on yourself both physically and emotionally. Often people who are helped by acupuncture decide to keep coming for treatment as they find it so beneficial and enjoyable!
Who can have acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a safe treatment for people of any age, including children. It can be used during pregnancy, while taking medication or while receiving other types of treatment.
What happens during an appointment?
At your first appointment we will spend time talking about why you have come to have acupuncture and taking a history so we have all the information we need to make a diagnosis. As well as taking a history, acupuncturists look at the tongue and feel the pulses on both wrists to gain more information. We may also talk about any dietary or lifestyle changes that may help you.
You will have an acupuncture treatment at your first appointment, though it may be shorter than subsequent treatments. It is a good idea to have a gentle treatment the first time you experience acupuncture so that you can see what it’s like, and we can see how you react.
During subsequent appointments we will begin by catching up with how you are feeling and talking about any changes you’ve noticed. We will also check your pulses and tongue before we begin the treatment.
You do not usually need to remove any clothes for an acupuncture treatment, but if you do (e.g. to access points on your back), we will make sure you are covered with a towel and not cold.
What does it feel like?
Acupuncture needles are extremely fine, and solid rather than hollow – not at all like the needles that doctors and dentists normally use.
You may not be aware of any sensation while the acupuncture needles are being inserted, though once they are in place you may feel a dull ache or tingling sensation around the needle. People often feel a heaviness in their limbs and very relaxed during treatment.
Acupuncture needles are normally left in place for about 20 – 30 minutes, which gives you a chance to rest. Occasionally the needles may only be left in for a couple of seconds.
We will usually use about 12 needles during a treatment. The most commonly used points are on the arms and legs, though we often use points on the back, torso and head.
What can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can help with a wide range of issues both physical and emotional, chronic and acute.
Due to recent advertising restrictions, we cannot list all the different conditions that acupuncture can help. So please contact us directly to discuss your individual needs.
The British Acupuncture Council has produced some fact sheets which you may find useful:
How many appointments will I need?
The number of treatments needed varies depending on each individual and the condition being treated. Normally more simple or recent problems can be helped more quickly than more complicated or longstanding ones.
As a general rule, we hope to see improvement within 3 – 6 sessions.
Other treatment techniques
Moxa is made from mugwort and other therapeutic herbs, and is used as an indirect source of heat to warm specific acupuncture points or areas of the body. Moxa comes in different forms – usually sticks or cones, and most practitioners now use smokeless moxa, which looks a bit like charcoal.
This is the use of a machine very similar to a TENS machine to introduce a very low frequency electric current through a needle. It is often used in the treatment of pain as it increases blood flow, relaxes the muscles and moves stagnant qi.
Cupping (Anna Only)
This is the use of glass cups with a vacuum seal which are placed onto the skin, and may be moved slowly along channels or over muscles to increase blood flow and move qi.
Massage (Anna Only)
Massage may be used when treating pain to investigate muscle tension and relax the muscles before acupuncture.
This is the use of acupuncture points on the ear, and can be effective in the treatment of many different conditions. Sometimes seeds may be stuck over the points using medical tape as a “take away” treatment.