Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequent asked questions about acupuncture and Chinese medicine. If you can not find your answer, please do not hesitate to send me an email or just arrange a 15 minute free consultation with me.

Q: What is Acupuncture?

A: Acupuncture is an ancient healing form with a history of over 5,000 years in China. It is based on a system of pathways (meridians) that run through the body carrying an energy or life force known as Qi. The balance and flow of Qi is seen as a vital and integral part of our health and well being. Imbalance in our Qi may present with symptoms or a general feeling of being unwell. Many things may contribute to this: our life style, diet, stress, ill health and other factors. Acupuncture works to restore balance, enhancing the body's natural healing mechanism and enabling the patient's general health and well-being to improve.

Q: What is an Acupuncture Meridian?

A: Acupuncture meridians are the lines which connect the acupuncture points with each other as well as with internal organs. Physiologically these are the lines that the acupuncture sensation travels along when acupuncture points are stimulated. 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 or grief, poor nutrition, weather conditions, hereditary factors, infections, poisons and trauma. By inserting fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can activate the body's own healing energy and help to restore its natural balance.

Q: What does a treatment involve?

A: The first session takes 1.5 - 2 hours. You will be asked questions about your health, life-style, your body systems such as sleep, digestion, circulation etc, your energy levels and well-being. As well as having blood-pressure checked and any medication you are taking noted. The practitioner will keep a record of this information to enable her/him to plan the best approach to treatment for you and to monitor your progress. All information is confidential. Your first experience with needles will also take place - this will involve inserting fine sterile needles into specific Acupuncture points on the body to stimulate the energy. Subsequent treatments last for 45 minutes to 1 hour and require a brief update on your health and well-being.

Q: What can Acupuncture treat?

A: The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the use of Acupuncture for the treatment of over 100 conditions and has reported, “Acupuncture has proven to be effective In the treatment of pain, stress headaches, addictions, chronic fatigue, anxiety, dysmennorhea, fibromyalgia, allergic sinusitis / rhinitis, depression, insomnia, asthma, chronic cough, gallstones, Bell's Palsy, women's and men's healthcare, weight gain, weight loss, digestive disorders, kidney disorders, skin disorders, stroke recovery, decreased immunity and countless other ailments.”

Q: Does Acupuncture hurt?

A: A tingle, ache or 'fizz' is often felt as the Qi energy is stimulated- this lasts momentarily. Occasionally a small bruise can appear.

Q: How many treatments will I need? And how often?

A:This depends on many factors - how long have you had your condition, the severity of it and your lifestyle. Treatment is usually weekly to start with. Some conditions only need 6/8 treatments whilst others will take longer. As soon as you improve treatments are spaced to longer intervals. Some patients come three or four times per year for a constitutional and preventative treatment to help them maintain their health.

Q: How do we diagnose what is out of balance in a person's body?

A: This is done by using the 'Four Examinations', a method of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis which dates back over three thousand years. Observing, Listening and Smelling (Listening and Smelling are counted as one of the Four Examinations), Questioning and Palpating make up the 'Four Examinations'. The TCM diagnosis will be carried out before therapy. The acupuncturist would like to feel your pulse on both wrists, and may ask to look at your tongue. In TCM the radial artery pulse is taken on both wrists, with the quality of the pulse being compared between the two wrists and at different distances from the wrist crease. The tongue displays significant variations in colour, shape, size and coating. TCM correlate these changes with disorders of different organs and body systems. These changes are then linked back to the individual's disorders and treatment is devised accordingly. Meanwhile, the acupuncturist may ask about your current symptoms, what treatment you have received, medical history and some health information on diet, sleep patterns and emotional state, etc.

The subjective, interpretive and objective evidence of an individual obtained by the 'Four Examinations' leads to the discovery of the causes of a disease while at the same time becoming aware of the 'Whole Person", thus revealing where in the individual's life the development of the disease started and what initiated it.

Q: What should I wear for the acupuncture treatment?

A: Loose, comfortable clothing and shoes that can be removed if necessary. We request that you wear little make-up so we can observe your natural skin colour and no strong perfumes, as these interfere with our diagnostic skills.

Q: Is my treatment confidential?

A: Yes, all information given during the course of any of our treatments is treated as strictly confidential. Personal files are only referred to by your practitioner. A copy of your contact details will be kept in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Q: Do I need to inform my GP before I start treatment?

A: This is a matter of personal choice. We require the name of your GP for our records but we will not contact him/her without your consent.