A typical consultation

Listening to all your health concerns

If you have never had an holistic treatment before, you will probably be pleasantly surprised by the experience. In my consultations, clients have often said that they feel it's the first time that someone's really listened to them and taken their symptoms seriously. This is probably because, in holistic healing, every aspect of your health is important, and all the symptoms that you choose to tell me about, no matter how minor, will be taken into account when I treat you.

Taking full details of your health history

In your first consultation, I would usually start by asking about your main complaint. I would then ask you a series of questions about other symptoms that you may or may not have. These would be symptoms that I think may be related in some way to your main complaint. During this process, I would also ask you about any major illness that you've had throughout your life. This process, together with my observations about your complexion, general manner and appearance, would enable me to start forming my diagnosis.

Tongue and pulse examination

I would also take your pulses and examine your tongue. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, these are important diagnostic tools.

When I take your pulses, this process is quite different from having your pulse taken in Western medicine. I will be feeling the quality of your pulses, rather than simply the speed. I will also be feeling your pulses in three different positions on each of your wrists. This will enable me to gauge how well each of your major organs are functioning, and whether there are any imbalances between them. Looking at your tongue will also give me a similar insight.

Making a full Chinese Medicine diagnosis

I would then put all these factors together to form my diagnosis, which I would discuss with you, doing my best to answer any questions that you have.

I would then ask you to lie on the treatment couch, so that I could begin your treatment. Of course, if you would find it too uncomfortable to climb onto the couch, then I would treat you in whatever position is comfortable for you.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Most people's experience of needles is of hypodermic needles. Acupuncture needles are nothing like those. They are much finer and are solid, rather than hollow. An acupuncture needle is about the thickness of a hair, and quite often you will not even know that I have inserted them. Usually, I would then gently stimulate the needle so that the acupoint is activated. When this happens, you will feel a sensation of some sort. The type and strength of the sensation varies from person to person, and also varies depending on the location on your body that I am needling in. The sensation might be a mild tingling, an aching, a feeling of heaviness, or sometimes a stronger sensation. The experience is nothing like receiving an ordinary injection. Most people find acupuncture relaxing, and many people fall asleep during treatment.

What to expect after your acupuncture treatment

After each treatment, most people feel a sense of calmness and relaxation. Many people also experience dramatic results after their first treatment. With many conditions, particularly where you are feeling pain or discomfort, you may experience an immediate easing of your symptoms. In some cases, there may be no immediate relief, but instead you may notice your pain diminish over the next couple of days.

Is acupuncture safe?

When performed by a properly trained professional, such as myself, acupuncture is extremely safe. Also, I use sterile, disposable needles, so there is virtually no chance of infection or contagion.

How long are the acupuncture treatments?

Usually, your first consultation with me will be longer than the follow-up sessions. The first session usually lasts up to one and half hours. This extra time is to enable me to take your detailed case history and form my initial diagnosis. The follow up sessions would usually last around forty-five minutes.

What to do before each acupuncture treatment

If convenient, you should wear loose-fitting clothes, such as the type of kit that you would normally wear for sporting activities, or anything similar.To get the most from each treatment, it is important to avoid eating a large meal just before the treatment; you should also avoid being excessively hungry. If possible, other extremes should also be avoided, such as being physically exhausted. For example, you should avoid doing a long session of hard physical exercise immediately before your acupuncture session. Also, if you regularly scrape your tongue, it would be helpful if you could avoid doing this for several days before each treatment. Tongue examination is an important diagnostic tool in Chinese Medicine, and this will help me to make a more accurate diagnosis.