What to expect from acupuncture

Below are some questions that I frequently get asked about what to expect from acupuncture and acupuncture appointments.  I am sure this is not an exhaustive list, so please feel free to always message me if I have not answered your question

Does acupuncture hurt?


The insertion of acupuncture needles should not be painful. The needles we use are single-use, sterile and very fine. They are nothing like the needles we see in the doctors office. We are looking for deqi though, which everyone will experience differently. Some people will feel a numbness, some a tiredness, some a heaviness. This feeling indicates that Qi has arrived.
If you would like to read more about what you feel in acupuncture, then you can see my blog post here.




What will an acupuncturist ask me?


Observations, questioning, palpation are all key diagnostic skills we use in a treatment. This allows us to make a working diagnosis. You are a whole person. Your poo tells me something. Your headaches tell me something. Your insomnia tells me something. Your overthinking tells me something. So I ask a lot of questions. There is a reason behind each question. It means I am honing my diagnosis and I offer no judgement or question to your reply. The more honest you can be, the better I can be. I wrote a blog post about what your body might be telling you here.




How long does acupuncture take to work?


Depending on your diagnosis, we will discuss how long we will need to work together. I would normally expect to see you for at least two treatments. There are a number of factors that we need to consider when evaluating treatment. Chronicity i.e. how long you have had the condition changes that you can make based on my suggestions according to Chinese medicine complexity - do you have a number of conditions you would like to look at? For an acute muscular-skeletal issue we might be looking at 2-4 sessions. For a chronic condition, the minimum will likely be 6 sessions. The next question is on how frequently? Acupuncture is cumulative, so again if you can do weekly then this is better than once a month or ad hoc appointments. But we will review each time and this is just a guide and it may be more/less.




How long is an acupuncture appointment?


For our first appointment together it will be 90 minutes. This allows me to take a full consultation, plus treatment. Follow up appointments should be around 60 minutes.




What should I do after an acupuncture treatment?


We will discuss my diagnosis, any future appointments and any lifestyle advice which you might follow in between appointments. Try and relax. This is the beauty of a mobile service, when I leave your home you can continue to enjoy that relaxation. I would suggest avoiding alcohol for at least 12 hours after. I will be in touch 24 hours after your appointment to assess how you are feeling, post treatment. I will also give you advice, based on Chinese medicine theory and dignosis that I will ask you to start doing between treatments. The more you take on that advice the better chance of resolving the issue.




What does my tongue say about my health?


Your tongue is a key diagnostic tongue. It tells us the history and current state of your body internally. That is why I ask you to not brush it in advance of the appointment.




Low cost acupuncture in Hertfordshire


From September to December 2021 I am working with three people who have premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I will be treating them for free for three months. From January 2022 I will have one appointment a week (for a maximum of four weeks per patient) that will be £40 for the 4 appointments (paid upfront). This is done on a trust basis that you would not be able to afford a regular acupuncture appointment with me.




What is Qi?


There are many interpretations of Qi. It is everything. From the trees, to animals, to humans, to weather, to breath. Qi can be taken from the food we eat and the breath we take. Which is why both are so important and how you can influence your own.




How does acupuncture work?


Purinergic signalling has been demonstrated to play a central role in such diverse clinical areas as migraines and headaches, immune dysfunction and inflammation, cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s. cardiovascular disease, endocrine function, embryological development. Acupuncture stimulates muscle relaxation and changes in visceral organs. In the brain, acupuncture has been shown to change functional connectivity, decreasing activity in limbic structures associated with stress and illness while improving the regulation of the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis, the primary system that the body uses for regulating hormones and the physiological stress response. Additionally, acupuncture modulates parasympathetic activity, the branch of the nervous system associated with rest, relaxation, digestion and tissue healing. If you would like to read more about this, then you can read my blog post here.




What can I help you with?


This is your treatment. I will listen to you thoroughly and ensure that I have understood your signs and symptoms. We will discuss your full medical history and your expectations. If you would like information on whether acupuncture might help your specific complaint, please refer to the British Acupuncture Council website




How much does acupuncture cost?


Initial consultation: £80 for 90 minutes Follow up sessions: £65 for 60 minutes




I'm scared of needles


Needles are not the only tools I can use. We can use moxa, cups, gua sha.




How is payment made for my acupuncture treatment?


You can now make your booking online. When booking your appointment you will be charged a 50% deposit. The remaining amount can be paid by cash and card on the day




What to wear for acupuncture


Please wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. I would suggest loose, layers. You may be asked to remove some clothing - underwear will stay on at all times.




What happens when you get acupuncture?


In your initial session, we will do a thorough and whole body discussion. We will discuss your main complaint and take a look at your tongue and I will feel your pulse. This allows me to make an appropriate diagnosis. Once I have made a diagnosis, I will select, palpate and needle the appropriate points to help balance your body. To enable me to select the right points I will ask you to lay or sit down on the treatment couch. I may also need you to remove some items of clothing. Your privacy and modesty will be preserved through towelling techniques. Once treatment starts you can just relax. You will have the needles in for between 20 to 30 minutes. If you would like to read more about what happpens before, during and after acupuncture treatment you can click here to read my blog post.




Acupuncture side effect


I have written a very comprehensive blog post looking at acupuncture side effects, but if you are after the quick answer please see below. In a study conducted in 2005 they found " The most common experiences reported were feeling 'relaxed' (79.1%) followed by feeling 'energised' (32.7%). A total of 24.4% of patients reported 'tiredness' or 'drowsiness', with obvious implications for safety if the patient intended to drive after treatment". It is a good thing I do mobile acupuncture! They also found that "There is strong evidence that acupuncture, when practised by regulated practitioners, is a safe intervention". Another study conducted in 2004, asked 9,408 patients for feedback on reactions that had occurred after acupuncture treatment. Of those 9,408, 6,348 completed the questionnaire with 10.7% of those (682) reporting 1,044 incidences. This means 89.3% or 5,669 people did not suffer any side effects. For the full list, you can see below their rate of incidence (per person). Tiredness or exhaustion - 227 people Pain at site of needling - 103 people Headache or migraine - 77 people Worsening of symptoms - 76 people Drowsiness - 53 people Dizziness or vertigo - 48 people Sleeplessness - 47 people Stiffness or numbness - 41 people Moxibustion burns to skin - 23 people Bruising at needling site - 33 people Skin infection - 23 people Diarrhoea - 23 people Agitation - 22 people Nausea - 22 people Nightmares - 22 people Panic - 16 people Vomiting - 16 people Fainting - 12 people Uncontrolled euphoria - 11 people Disorientation - 7 people Bleeding at needling site - 4 people




How much acupuncture do I need?


Acupuncture is cumulative, so again if you can do weekly then this is better than once a month or ad hoc appointments. But we will review each time and this is just a guide and it may be more/less.




Can my dog, cat, children be present during treatment?


One of the reasons I love coming to you is that you can be comfortable in your own home and you are not having to worry about said dog, cat, child when you leave the house. I love meeting them too. During treatment I would ask that animals and children are not in the room, during treatment. But only because you will have needles in. I cannot risk that one may get knocked inadvertently. You will effectively not be able to move. Also, use this time to relax, repair and rejuvenate.