What your consultation involves
A medical history is taken of the patients condition, including problems, when they started and how they have progressed. This will include the nature and severity of the problem(s), and questions about the patients’ lifestyle in order to gain a full picture of how the body is functioning.
The examination may include:
- looking at the tongue
- feeling the wrist pulse
- palpation of the affected area
- palpation of the abdomen
- range of joint movement measurements
- blood pressure reading
- reflex tests
From this we obtain important information on how the body is functioning for both Chinese medicine and Biomedicine.
In the case of acupuncture treatment, it involves fine sterile needles being inserted through the skin to various depths, depending on the point. The patient is continually monitored as to how they feel, and the pulse may be monitored throughout treatment.
After insertion if there is no “deqi” feeling (see does acupuncture hurt?), the needles are manipulated to elicit one. The amount of disrobing necessary depends on the choice of points used, which may include only wrists and ankles or lower leg. It is useful to wear loose comfortable clothing for this reason so you can be as comfortable as possible.
It is likely that more disrobing will be necessary for bodywork treatments. In this case can be useful to bring some shorts, but be assured that your comfort will be respected and towels are available for warmth etc.
Patients are assured that they are in control, and that they can stop the acupuncturist and go as slow as they want. Some people begin with apprehension, but end up looking forward to the experience and enjoying it.
A wide range of the things we treat have lifestyle components; posture, stress, exercise and dietary related factors so guidance and advice according to the principles of Chinese Medicine are also part of the service.
The length of a course of treatment is difficult to determine before consultation. Some people only need to come 2 or 3 times, and others require ongoing treatment over a long period of time for their problems. Some people decide to keep coming even when they are better because it helps them in ways they had not expected, like feeling generally calmer, or getting ill less often. Other use acupuncture, bodywork and exercise as preventative measures. Generally speaking the longer the person has had a condition the longer it takes to remedy, although there are sometimes quite remarkable results.
It is important to have eaten before the treatment since on an empty stomach acupuncture can sometimes cause side effects like dizziness, feeling faint and nausea, although this is rare. It is also good to drink plenty of water and to avoid alcohol on the day of the session to make the most of your treatment.