How to prepare
Before your first treatment there are a few things to bear in mind:
- The most commonly used acupuncture points are on the lower arms and legs, so wear loose-fitting clothing that allows access to these areas
- Avoid going for treatment on an empty stomach
- If you are new to acupuncture then tell your practitioner so they can talk you through the process.
For your first visit, the practitioner will need to take some information about your main complaint and your general health and lifestyle. You will be asked about:
- Current symptoms
- Medical history
- Sleeping patterns
- Emotional state
- For women: menstrual cycle, past pregnancies.
The practitioner will also:
- Take your pulse
- Examine your tongue
- Palpate the channels on your lower arms and legs.
Our treatment room at Morrison
Chambers, Dublin 2
Based on the information collected during the initial consultation, the practitioner will establish his diagnosis and will then put together your personalised treatment plan, which may include lifestyle and dietary advice.
The practitioner will insert very fine single-use, pre-sterilised needles into specific points on your body, most commonly the lower arms and legs. The practitioner may gently stimulate the needles to encourage a response from the body. You may feel tingling or a feeling that energy is radiating from the point. It should not be painful, in fact you may even find it quite pleasant.
Once the practitioner has finished inserting the needles you will given about 20-25 minutes to relax while the needles do their work.
Other treatment techniques
In addition to acupuncture, you may be given other forms of treatment. These are all part of the Chinese medical tradition and will enhance the effectiveness of your treatment as a whole.
- Moxibustion: the application of indirect heat using moxa (therapeutic herbs) and/or heat lamps to warm and relax muscles and energise meridians
- Tui na: Chinese therapeutic massage, used to relieve muscle tension, stimulate acupressure points, open energy meridians and stimulate the flow of qi
- Electro-acupuncture: a very low frequency electrical current (1Hz) applied to the needle to increase blood flow, relax muscle tissue and clear stagnant qi
- Cupping: glass cups with a vacuum seal that are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and clear stagnant qi
- Gua sha: using tools to rub the skin to increase blood flow and clear stagnant qi.
Your practitioner may suggest ways in which you can enhance the long-term effects of your treatment, such as by making changes to your diet and daily routine. If necessary, you will be referred to other healthcare practitioners for specialist care.
Acupuncture has very few side-effects which are mild and self-correcting. You may feel tired or sleepy straight after treatment, so keep this in mind if you plan to drive afterwards. Occasionally you may see bruising on and around a needled point. Give yourself time to rest straight after treatment and avoid heavy exercise and alcohol for a few hours afterwards.
Acupuncture works cumulatively, meaning one treatment builds on the next. If you want lasting results from acupuncture then you will need to commit. The number of treatments a patient will need can vary, but a minimum of six is recommended, at least once a week but twice a week is better.
Enjoy the benefits!
You will know your treatment is working when you start to experience some of the great benefits of acupuncture. These include:
- Better sleeping patterns, deeper sleep, feeling more rested
- Better awareness, more in touch with your body
- More energy and vitality
- Less stressed, easier to cope with stress
- Better digestion and bowel movement.