Most people’s experience of needles is of those used in injections. Acupuncture needles are much finer and bear little resemblance to these. Needles are inserted either for a second or two, or left in place for up to 20 minutes, depending on the effect required.
The benefits of acupuncture frequently include more than just relief from a particular condition. Many people find that it can also lead to feeling very relaxed and an enhanced sense of well-being.
Is it safe?
The British Acupuncture Council sets out a Code of Practice which lays down stringent standards of hygiene including the use of disposable needles. These procedures have been approved by the Department of Health and provide protection against the transmission of infectious diseases.
What will happen on my first visit?
Your first consultation will last 2 hours. The acupuncturist needs to assess your general state of health in order to identify the underlying pattern of disharmony and give you the most effective treatment.
You will be asked about your current symptoms, your medical history, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. To discover how the energies are flowing in your body, your pulse will be taken on both wrists, noting the quality, rhythm and strength. The initial consultation also involves tongue examination, blood pressure, a short abdominal examination which involves gentle pressure over different areas of the abdomen and a brief structural examination.
Once enough information has been gathered to determine the likely causes of your problem, the acupuncturist can select the most appropriate treatment. The aim is to discover which energy channels need adjusting for your specific condition to improve and to boost your overall energy and vitality.
There are around 500 acupuncture points on the body. Stimulate of specific areas on the skin affects the functioning of certain organs in the body. However, these areas may not be close to the part of the body where the problem is experienced. For example, although you may suffer from headaches, needles may be inserted in your foot or hand.
How often will I need treatment?
The number of treatments depends on the individual. Some change is usually felt after five treatments. Normally you are recommended to visit your acupuncturist once a week at first.
Sometimes the effects of the treatment are dramatic and only 1 or 2 treatments are required and other patients may need treatment over several months.