What should I expect from my acupuncture treatment?
Taking your medical history
Generally, your first acupuncture consultation will be longer than follow-up sessions due to the initial interview, where you will be asked questions about your current symptoms but also about your health history. The follow-up sessions would usually take less time.
During your initial interview, we may ask questions that appear to be irrelevant to your main complaint but those are important for us so we can have a holistic view of the issue you are coming with. The typical questionnaire may include questions such as medication, diet, sleeping patterns, digestive and urinary functions, sexual function, menstrual period, emotional quality and basic level of stress, among others.
We want to know about you as a person, not just as a patient with complaints. We are here to listen to you and take your views into account, respecting your individuality and preferences so we can have a fully understanding of your concerns.
You will have enough time to express your concerns and come up with questions at any time during the consultation.
Needles are usually placed on the extremities of your body so it is best if you could wear loose-fitting clothes, such as the type of kit that you would normally wear for sporting activities, or anything similar. However, in some cases you might need to undress to the underwear. The practitioner will leave the room and provide some draping to ensure modesty while you get undress. You are welcome to bring a chaperone/friend into the room.
The body diagnosis comes after the initial interview and it is where we may feel for areas of muscular tension or pain.
Taking the pulse in both wrists is the cornerstone of any Chinese medicine diagnosis as it gives to the practitioner information about your energetic body, from the Chinese point of view. That will take a minute or so and it will be felt several times during and after the treatment.
Tongue diagnosis is another very important diagnostic technique as the tongue is thought to be a 'microcosm' of the entire body. Colour, coating and shape of the tongue will be observed. It is important not to scrape or brush your tongue on the day of your treatment. Additionally, eating highly coloured foods or drinking highly coloured drinks may impede diagnosis.
Placing the needles
Having all the above information into account the practitioner will make the diagnosis and will proceed with the treatment which will consists on the gentle insertion of 3 to 6 single-use sterile needles. It may also involve the use of moxibustion (the burning of a medical herb either directly on the body or indirectly form an inch or so away). Needles will stay for about 20 minutes and the final removal of the needles is usually painless.
You can check the side effects you might have because of the needles here
During the consultation
This is your 'me' time! You can enjoy it relaxing in a safe and quiet environment, having an easy chat with the practitioner or feeding your curiosity with questions.
After the consultation
After the consultation comes the advice about aftercare. The practitioner loves supporting patients in caring for themselves to improve and maintain their own health and wellbeing. He will use visuals and/or models where possible to explain your concerns from the Chinese point of view in a way you can understand, helping you to take control of your own health.
He will also consider the contributions of other health and care professionals to optimise your care when necessary.
We treat your details confidentially
You can rest assured that what you tell us will remain confidential.