WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE & HOW CAN IT HELP ME?
Firstly, Acupuncture is used by thousands of people across the world to improve their health & vitality; physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. It’s very safe & works through using hair-fine, disposable sterile needles, inserted into specific acupuncture points over the body to create a required stimulus.
Acupuncture works by restoring balance to the different systems of the body & it does this through treating our Qi (energy), Blood, Yin & Yang through using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which enables us as acupuncturists to understand the root cause of the problems at hand.
TCM is the diagnostic tool which an acupuncturist uses to diagnose the exact causes of a patient’s ill health. With this ascertained, the practitioner then uses acupuncture needles to treat the conditions & root causes. Alongside TCM, I also treat each individual’s spiritual & mental health & the effect that these have upon the body’s organs by using Five Element acupuncture, a separate style of acupuncture which I integrate into my treatments alongside TCM to give best results.
Treating through Acupuncture is now a days, a well recognised system of alternative yet scientific medicine, although it dates back thousands of years.
TCM specifically targets the root cause of illnesses, rather than just the symptoms, because this holistic approach often finds that numerous symptoms are often found to have just one or very few root causes. Once these causes are diagnosed & treated, then patients find that they become healthier & that typically, symptoms reduce or disappear.
No ailment is too small in terms of treatment with acupuncture. Its’ in depth approach enables us to treat/work with most illnesses, however minor you might perceive them to be.
Acupuncture restores balance to the entire body, by actively working to resolve the pathogens that invade the body, such as those ingested through unhealthy foods, drinks & other toxins, day to day living & stress. Acupuncture is also used successfully as a preventative measure to ill health too.
When there is greater balance within the body, it follows that there will be fewer health issues.
YOUR FIRST TREATMENT, DIAGNOSIS & PLAN
At your initial session, a confidential case history is taken, involving detailed questioning in relation to your current complaints. Your medical history is also taken, from birth to present day, with a brief discussion of the health of your immediate family. Much attention is also spent on discussing in depth your over all lifestyle, with factors such as how you sleep, your diet, how you take care of yourself & much, much more.
Then I will ask to take the pulses on both of your wrists, where a gentle pressure will be applied with my fingertips at two different depths.
You will then be asked to gently stick out your tongue so that it can be momentarily observed for its colour, shape & so on. Pulse & tongue diagnoses are an important part of treatment & these can provide over 30 pieces of diagnostic information regarding your health, your emotions & the root cause of your dis-ease.
When I have gained all of the factual & diagnostic information that I need & translated this in terms of Chinese Medicine, I formulate a treatment which is entirely tailored to your needs & treatment can begin.
Needles are usually left in for no longer than twenty minutes & these are used to clear what we call ‘full’ conditions. When I’m satisfied that the full conditions have been suitably reduced, I then usually, depending on patient need, insert needles in to specific points to strengthen weaknesses in the body’s organs & treat Qi, blood, Yin & Yang. These are inserted & then almost immediately removed once ‘deqi’ has been achieved.
Please allow 1hour 45 minutes for your initial treatment & diagnosis.
At subsequent appointments, we discuss relevant health & emotional issues & any lifestyle changes that might need to be implemented, as these are all key factors towards your progression to healthier wellbeing. I also observe your tongue & take your pulses throughout & then treat accordingly, tailoring each session specifically. All discussions are kept entirely confidential as part of strict codes of practice/conduct. Please allow between 45minutes for each session.
ARE NEEDLES SAFE?
Acupuncture needles ARE safe. This is because each needle which enters the body is firstly sterile, used only once & disposed of immediately from withdrawal & placed in a sharps box to be disposed of to current regulatory standards. The needles I use are of the finest quality, flexible & are about the thickness of a single hair, unlike the broad, hollow needles which many people associate with injections.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NEEDED?
Patients respond to acupuncture at different rates, depending on the severity and the duration of the illness. Due to the effectiveness and versatility of acupuncture, many symptoms can be treated per session, which means that often, fewer treatments are needed.
It is important to remember that acupuncture is not a ‘quick fix,’ & that where someone’s health has deteriorated, there will be many contributory factors which will have built up over a long period of time. To deal with this, it is recommended that patients receive treatment once weekly for a minimum of six weeks, in order to reduce full conditions and strengthen deficiencies. At the sixth session, a review of all changes are thoroughly discussed and adjustments made to treatment sessions implemented where necessary, which may mean that the patient may have a longer intervals between each treatment, but this entirely depends on the state of the patient’s symptoms and health between appointments.
Where patients are keen to follow health, lifestyle & dietary changes between their appointments, it also follows that fewer sessions are often needed too.
I don’t like to make my patients feel pressured & simply advise on what I think is best for them, so that they can think about what is financially viable & what they have time for in their busy schedules.
WHAT DO THE NEEDLES FEEL LIKE?
Contrary to what the novice patient may feel, acupuncture isn’t actually painful. People tend to associate needles with pain & fear, similar to having an injection. Acupuncture needling is very different. Firm pressure is applied surrounding where the needle enters the skin & due to this pressure & the speed in which the needle is inserted, practically nothing is felt at all. The needle once in the skin is painless. One of the keys to successful treatment is finding what we acupuncturists call ‘deqi.’ Deqi is where the needle comes into direct contact with the patient’s Qi (energy). It’s this contact, which makes the difference to the health of the patient. Deqi is felt in different ways. The sensation is momentary & may feel like a tingling sensation or a dull ache, or as though someone has pressed on a bruise. When this is felt by the patient, then the acupuncturist knows without doubt that they have hit the exact point that is needed & this reflects in positive changes in the patient’s pulse.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE AN ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT
Do: Try to wear loose comfortable clothing where possible.
Do: Try to eat something light about an hour before your treatment, so that you’re not treated on an empty stomach, but try to avoid a heavy meal just before treatment commences.
Do: Try to avoid eating highly coloured foods before your treatment, such as brightly coloured sweets, as these will discolour your tongue & give false diagnostic information about your wellbeing.
Do: Try to have your GP’s details to hand, such as his/her name, surgery address & telephone number. Please note that I do not contact them, it’s just best practice to ensure that these details are taken.
Do: Look forward to this highly informative, enlightening & interesting experience.
HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER AN ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT?
Many patients describe that they feel intensely relaxed & sleepy afterwards. Others describe that they feel very uplifted. Where ‘full’ conditions are often moved at the start of treatment, it is possible that some symptoms initially feel increased before feeling a significant reduction in such, which is often typical of alternative treatments on the road to improved health & wellbeing.
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT?
Make sure that you drink some water post-treatment to help flush away the natural impurities in your body. Try to book your treatment time for when you don’t have to do anything too strenuous afterwards, giving yourself time to simply allow the body to heal itself.
SHOULD I TELL MY GP?
Acupuncture can be safely administered alongside Western Medicine, sometimes reducing the need for conventional drugs or by helping to reduce their side effects. Some people like to tell their doctor that they are about to embark on a course of acupuncture. This is your choice. With severe medical conditions, Aysha might ask that her patients consult with their GP first.
Although I take your GP’s name, surgery address & telephone number at the initial consultation, please note that I do not contact them. It’s simply best practice to have these details. All discussions between you & I are kept purely confidential.
Aysha never advises that anyone should stop taking medicines prescribed by their doctor. Although Aysha has been trained to give pharmaceutical advice to the public through the NHS, please note that she will not attempt to give such during treatment sessions for insurance reasons as she emphasises that this is the role of her patient’s doctor.
WILL MY HEALTH INSURANCE COVER THE COST?
This does depend on the policy that you hold with your insurers, so please do check with them first, but being a member of the British Acupuncture Council, the main regulatory body for the practice of acupuncture, most insurers will recognise this. All you need to do is to give your insurer my membership number which is: 958299
I will also provide a receipt at the end of each treatment for you to send off when asked. I am fully insured & certificated by the council for health & safety.
IS ACUPUNCTURE FOR ME?
Even if you don’t feel that there is anything significantly wrong with you, maybe you feel a little lack lustre, or are simply intrigued & want to see what acupuncture feels like for you, then this isn’t a problem at all. You won’t be pressured to book a course afterwards.
CAN CHILDREN HAVE ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture can also be of great benefit to children. Children under the age of sixteen must be accompanied by an adult throughout their treatment session.
THE DIFFERENT FORMS OF TREATMENT SOMETIMES GIVEN DURING AN ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT
Cupping is a technique used to expel pathogens and move stagnation, causing discomfort. This technique uses glass cups that are warmed to create a vacuum plus thermo-therapy and then applied to the skin, gently pulling the tissues up into the cup and therefore stimulating the acupuncture point.
Moxa is a herb which has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. We use it in two ways, either my lighting a moxa stick, which smoulders & we hold near to the skin or we roll the moxa into a cone & place on the end of the needle or at specific points on the body using moxa cones. It is very warming & directs heat to specific points for those who are internally cold. It aims to stimulate and warm the Qi, which in turn speeds health recovery time.
Gua Sha dates back over 3000 years and is used to stimulate the meridians, through focusing on moving our Blood & Qi, which improves the micro-circulation in the area being treated. The treatment feels warming, as a round-edged instrument is stroked across the skin over an oil base.
Where problem areas of stagnation are found, it will highlight with temporary discolouration of the skin, which indicates the release of a pathogen and the removal of blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue of the skin. It is non-invasive, simple, direct and very versatile, treating a great many issues. This is used as a consensual part of an acupuncture treatment where deemed important & this is because the skin where toxins have been found will discolour for around 3-5 days after treatment before returning to normal. This is nothing to be alarmed about & is a natural part of the healing process.
AURICULAR (EAR) ACUPUNCTURE
Auricular acupuncture is very powerful & does not warrant a full consultation before treatment, as would be the case with body acupuncture. It is found to be deeply relaxing and helps people with many difficulties endured in different areas of their lives. Each session lasts up to an hour, with up to five very fine needles being inserted into each ear.
Six treatments are essential for effective results, treating twice weekly. After the sixth treatment, appointments are made once fortnightly where necessary. At the end of each treatment, either magnetic studs or seeds are applied to the surface of the skin on the ear, which the patient can press when they feel a craving or an unwelcome symptom manifesting which further enhances treatment results and patient well being in minimum time.
This safe, comfortable treatment uses a gentle current either through the needles or through pads adhered to the skin. It is used successfully as part of an acupuncture treatment where deemed beneficial to the patient.