Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of medicine which has been used to restore, promote and maintain good health for thousands of years. The British Acupuncture Council has produced a series of fact sheets to provide accurate and unbiased general information about how acupuncture may be beneficial for a variety of conditions.
According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy – known as qi – moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of meridians (channels) beneath the skin. The flow of qi can be disturbed by many factors, physical, mental and emotional: anxiety, stress, anger, fear, grief, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary factors, infections and trauma. By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body’s own healing response and help to restore its natural balance. As acupuncture treats the whole person, often people discover that it is not only their initial condition that improves but many also report an increase in their energy levels, a stronger immune system and a greater sense of well being. Historically practitioners of Chinese Medicine were only paid when their patients were well and in this way acupuncture can be used as a preventative medicine to keep the body and mind in its optimal condition.
Before having acupuncture treatment, please wear clothing that will allow easy access to your lower legs and arms as most acupuncture points are located on these areas of the body. Also try not to go for treatment on an empty stomach or straight after a heavy meal.
During your first appointment Sarah will spend about an hour and a quarter with you. During this time she will ask you about your current symptoms, medical history, lifestyle and diet together with any other factors that may be relevant. Sarah will then ask you to lie on the treatment couch while she takes your pulses on each wrist and looks at your tongue. She will make a diagnosis and put together a personalised treatment plan which may include lifestyle and dietary advice as well as acupuncture.
Treatment will involve Sarah inserting fine, sterile needles into points mainly found on your arms and lower legs. Sarah will insert needles for a few seconds or leave them in place for up to twenty minutes. The needles are much finer than those used for injections and the sensation is often described as a tingling or brief dull ache. Energy meridians are located across the whole body and therefore the points used are not necessarily close to where you experience your symptoms. For example, if you suffer from headaches, needles might be inserted into your foot or hand. Most people find acupuncture relaxing and experience a sense of peacefulness during and after the treatment. you should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and ideally give yourself a little time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment.
Subsequent treatment sessions last about 45 minutes and will initially involve a discussion about how you have been feeling since your last treatment and give you an opportunity to talk about any other ongoing issues in your life.
Moxa, which is a therapeutic herb, or a heat lamp may be applied to an acupuncture point or meridian to warm and relax muscles and qi. This can be very nourishing and relaxing for the body.
Missed, cancelled or changed appointments will be charged in full unless 24 hours notice is given.