Services

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is Offered at the Centre by:

David Start

Acupuncturist

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  • How does it work?
  • How many sessions will I need?
  • What are needles like? Do they hurt?
  • What happens in treatment?
  • What is a Full Traditional Diagnosis?
  • Who chooses acupuncture?

Chinese medicine studied the effects of lifestyle on the body's energy patterns which we call 'Qi'. They recognised that factors such as overworking, worry, constitutional problems, poor diet, stress and climate affect how Qi flows in the body. When it becomes blocked, disturbed or depleted, it can result in imbalance which causes illness. Left untreated, this can slowly weave a complex series of interactions around the body. Based on your individual diagnosis, treatment aims to restore the balance of your Qi, using points to nourish or strengthen, smooth or disperse. During your treatment, your pulses will be monitored to assess if the treatment is having the desired effect.

Frequency of treatment and number of sessions depend on your individual condition. Sometimes people notice an immediate improvement while others, particularly those with longer term conditions, may need more time to notice a change. Often people put off having acupuncture, seeing it as a last resort, so it can take a bit longer to work. We usually advise trying to commit to about 6 treatments, starting weekly then fortnightly or once a month. If you are seeking treatment to help with any addictions or eating disorders, please enquire separately about this. We see treatment as a partnership, or 2-way process, rather than simply just 'practitioner doing' and 'patient receiving'. There are lots of ways pulses, tongue, symptoms, your appearance or voice - in which your body will communicate what you need. If we think there are external factors that will help you, such as diet or lifestyle issues, then we will work with you to try and incorporate any beneficial changes into your treatment plan.

Acupuncture needles are much finer than those used for injections or blood tests. They can be described as a bit like cat's whiskers. They're made of flexible, sterile, stainless steel. All our needles are single use and safely disposed of. When inserted, you might feel a tingling sensation or dull ache, which we associate with Qi, showing that the whole body and mind is responding. It doesn't generally hurt but occasionally some points can feel slightly tender, depending on what we are aiming to achieve. You are always in the 'driving seat' and we can remove any needles immediately if you ask

Sessions last between 45 minutes and an hour. We ask you about your progress and other relevant issues, before re-taking your pulses and looking at your tongue. Treatment comprises the insertion of very fine needles into specific points. Some needles will be left in for around 20 minutes while you relax, while others will be quickly inserted and removed. We may suggest other forms of treatment, such as moxa, guasha or cupping if we consider these will be helpful.

We would normally do a full traditional diagnosis with all patients, although if you have an acute or very painful condition, this may be treated initially before doing your FTD. Diagnosis takes about 1 ½ hours. It involves a detailed discussion about your health, physical systems, lifestyle and medical history. It will include examining your tongue, taking your pulses, and also do any necessary physical examination at this time. Medicines can affect the whole body, not just the symptom they are targeting, so please be prepared to provide us with information about any medications you are taking. This information will enable us to compile a full diagnostic picture which assesses the state of your Qi, the factors which have or which are affecting it and, from a Chinese medical perspective, the consequences relating to your organs, blood, any pathogens, fluid balance, Spirit and channels. This information is then used to develop your personal treatment plan.

Acupuncture is suitable for all ages and can be used alone or alongside conventional medicine. Many people come for help with specific conditions, such as joint pain, that they have heard acupuncture can help. Others just don't feel right or are constantly under the weather but neither they nor their doctor can quite put their finger on anything wrong. Some just want to enhance their feeling of wellbeing, while other patients want to try a treatment that is drug-free, or perhaps offers them a different perspective on a long-term condition. Others may just want to help maintain good health as a preventative measure, or simply enjoy the deep sense of relaxation derived from treatment. One of the aspects of acupuncture we like to emphasise is that acupuncture treats the person, not the condition. Chinese medicine would consider it nonsense to consider mental or emotional aspects of a person's health separately from any physical symptoms everything is seen as an important part of you! So while we will focus on treating your main complaint your priority is our priority we would not be surprised to find other niggles quietly changing and improving in the background.