What can I expect?

Safety

Acupuncture is safe. Serious side-effects are very rare – less than one in every 10,000 treatments. Unlike some forms of medication, there is no risk of dependency with acupuncture.

Preparing for acupuncture

It is advisable to have something to eat at least 2-3 hours prior to your acupuncture treatment – particularly for the first session.

Your first session

The first session will be around 2 hours in length and will include taking a full case history. I will need to ask about your symptoms, sleep pattern, diet, digestion and other lifestyle factors. I will also need to know about your medical history – any operations, medications and conditions.

The next part of the session will involve a physical exam. For this you will need to undress to your underwear as I will need to examine the abdomen and certain points and meridians on the body to aid diagnosis. A blanket is used at all times to protect modesty. Some diagnostic techniques are unique to acupuncture and will involve taking your pulse on both wrists as well as looking at your tongue. These give important information to aid diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment duration

Subsequent treatments will last up to one hour. The number of treatments required will differ from person to person. Please see the Your questions answered section for more details. 

Occasional minor adverse effects

There is a small risk of bruising at the needle site.

You may feel a sensation when the acupuncture needle is manipulated. This is different for everyone and is often described as a pulling sensation or dull ache. Any sensations that you feel will be temporary.

Possible reactions to treatment

You may feel tired or drowsy after you have been treated (some patients welcome this!). If you feel overly tired or groggy let your practitioner know and avoid driving/using machinery until you feel better.

Other reactions may include mild headache, feeling faint, allergic skin reactions (rare) or aggravation of a condition (generally short and mild). Although sometimes discouraging, the latter is often a good sign, as the majority of these patients then experience improvement.

Patients requiring special care

There are few contraindications to acupuncture. As a trained practitioner I take proper care with every individual patient. It is sometimes necessary to avoid certain points or adjuncts to treatment – depending on your case history. If you are coming for treatment please let me know if any of the following apply to you:

  • You may be pregnant
  • You are taking anticoagulant medication
  • You have valvular or other heart disease
  • You have epilepsy, cancer or wear a pacemaker

Nutritional advice

In addition to your acupuncture treatment I am able to offer dietary advice based on the principles of Chinese Medicine. This will take into account your unique constitution and what foods will assist you in achieving your health goals as well as those that may need to be limited. Please ask me for more details.