What you can expect from acupuncture treatments

Many people are nervous of receiving acupuncture treatment for the first time. Most concerns are centred around the following frequently asked questions. As you will discover when reading the answers, your nerves needn’t jangle.

What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a highly relaxing form of Japanese physiotherapy, which can be administered as a stand-alone treatment or combined with acupuncture to enhance its effects.
During a Shiatsu massage, I apply pressure with either the thumb or palm of the hand across the whole body. You will be fully clothed during the massage. The amount of pressure I apply will neither be too light nor too deep, but just right to preapre you for the benefits of acupuncture.

Will I need to undress for treatment?

Most acupuncture points are found below the elbow and below the knee. Thus, it’s unlikely you will need to undress, though this does depend on the location of the affected area (for example, to treat severe back pain). If there is a need for you to take some clothes off, you will be covered with towels to keep your privacy.

How many sessions will I need?

Each person’s situation and condition is unique. As such, the frequency and duration of sessions can vary greatly. Factors that determine how many sessions you will need include the severity and onset of the presenting issue, your age and general health.
However, for optimum results I normally advise that you start with two sessions per week until you experience a significant improvement in symptoms. Usually, this is between two and four weeks. The frequency of sessions is then reduced to one per week. Often, between 10 and 20 sessions will be sufficient to address your issue.

Does needling hurt?

Like most people, you may be nervous about receiving acupuncture for the first time. However, my patients report that it’s not what they imagined. Acupuncture needles are as thin as two hairs and are therefore barely felt.

Is acupuncture safe?

When you have acupuncture with a fully trained professional, you’ll find it is extremely safe. A concern which is often voiced is about the safety of the needles. Like all other fully-trained, professional acupuncture therapists, I only use sterile and disposable needles.

Are there any side effects associated with acupuncture?

As with all health treatments, there are some side effects which may affect you. The most common is slight bruising, though you may also feel a slight ache at the site of the needling. Another common side effect is mild light-headedness, which often passes within a few minutes of the session ending, though on occasion may last a few hours. Such side effects occur because of the direct way in which acupuncture works to improve your condition.

How does acupuncture work?

Here’s the science bit! Acupuncture works so well and so fast because it taps into your nervous system. This releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins (natural pain killers your body produces) and serotonin. It also helps to readjust the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of your nervous system that counterbalances the action of the sympathetic nerves. It consists of nerves arising from the brain and the lower end of the spinal cord and supplying the internal organs, blood vessels, and glands.

Is there anything I should or shouldn’t do before/after treatment?

You shouldn’t have a large meal before a session, but neither should you refrain from eating. After a session, it is advised that you only eat a light meal, refrain from drinking alcohol, and don’t engage in strenuous physical activity (e.g. sports).

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept card or cash payments.

What happens during my first session?

The first visit begins with a consultation period. You and I will discuss your medical history and any other relevant information. As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I use two further diagnostic procedures: I observe your tongue and listen to your pulse. This consultation normally takes between 15 and 30 minutes. You may then ask any questions you may have, before we proceed with your acupuncture treatment. ​Once the needles have been placed, they stay in position for 20 minutes. In total, your first session will last approximately one hour.

What happens during follow-up sessions?

Each follow-up session lasts one hour. We start by discussing your general wellbeing, before a 15-minute Shiatsu massage. The final treatment is the acupuncture itself, with the needles once more positioned for 20 minutes.

Do you offer discounts?

We offer discounts on multi-session packages.

I hope I’ve addressed your concerns with the above questions and answers. If there is something you want to know about Chinese medicine and acupuncture treatment which I haven’t discussed above, please don’t hesitate to contact me.