What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine, sterile, single use disposable needles into specific points on the body.  The majority of these points are found along the acupuncture meridians.  According to Chinese medicine theory, the meridians are the pathways along which the body’s vital energy or Qi flows.  These pathways travel along and through the body and connect with the internal organs.  Blockages in the meridians disrupt the normal circulation and distribution of Qi and Blood and cause suboptimal functioning of the body’s organs, leading to poor health, disease, pain and/or emotional stressors.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, the aim of acupuncture is to restore balance to the meridians. The benefits of restoring balance to the meridians can be felt as decreased pain, less headaches, improved digestion, improved moods, more energy, more relaxed and general feelings of improved health and well being.  Our physical bodies and minds are not considered separate entities according to Chinese Medicine theory. They are connected via the internal organs and meridian networks and can be seen as different manifestations originating from the same imbalances.  By balancing the meridians, acupuncture promotes optimal functioning of the organs, improving the health of both body and mind.  Studies have shown that acupuncture helps regulate a variety of the body’s systems.  Basically, it can help reduce physical aches and pains, improve energy levels, sleep, digestion, immune functioning and relaxes and balances us emotionally.

Acupuncture is a natural, drug-free treatment – a traditional natural health solution to today’s modern dilemmas.

Most people are pleasantly surprised (or should that say relieved?) that acupuncture generally doesn’t hurt.  Remember, my aim is to make you feel better and take your pain away, not to hurt you!  My needle technique is gentle and only very fine, high quality, single use, sterile, disposable needles are used.  Did you know an acupuncture needle is only about 1 ½ times the size of an average head hair?  After insertion, a sensation may be felt that is perceived as a slight heaviness, tingling or warmth or you may even nothing at all.  It shouldn’t feel sharp or uncomfortable, and if it does, please inform me so I can adjust the needles to your comfort levels.  Acupuncture should be a relaxing, enjoyable experience.

After an acupuncture session, most people feel relaxed or even a bit sleepy.  An added bonus and a perfect antidote to our modern, stressful lives.  Please take this into consideration if you are driving home and especially when booking your first appointment so you can make time to go home and relax after treatment.  If you are very stressed, you may even feel a little emotional, as pent up emotions are released.  These are all possible side effects of acupuncture and signs that acupuncture is doing its job of balancing the meridians.

If you have a tendency to dizziness from low blood sugar or low blood pressure, eating a light snack before treatment can help prevent you feeling light headed after treatment.  Please also ensure you get up slowly from the table.

If you are getting treatment for a painful condition, it is best to make time to rest and refrain from vigorous exercise for at least a few hours after treatment, even though your pain will most likely be lessened.  Occasionally, in the early stages of treatment, your pain may be no better or even exacerbated for 24 – 48 hours after treatment. This too is normal and a sign that your condition has changed.  Be patient, as relief usually follows.

There are always risks and benefits associated with any sort of treatment.  Serious side effects are rare at the hands of well trained, experienced practitioners.  The added benefit of acupuncture is that many people report a general improvement in their health, not just the “main complaint” which they sought treatment for.  As well as a reduction in pain, many people feel more relaxed, sleep better after treatment and feel an improvement in their energy levels.  Negative side effects are mostly mild and temporary and include bruising and bleeding at the site of an acupuncture needle.  Applying ice or arnica ointment will minimise the duration and size of the bruise.

Please advise me if you find any symptom unpleasant or prolonged, as your next treatment can be modified to minimise these effects.  If you are at all concerned about any effect of your treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Your well being is important to me.

This will be discussed with you during your first treatment and with each follow-up treatment as frequency and duration of treatment varies widely depending on what is being treated and how you respond to treatment.

Generally, recent acute problems can be resolved within a few treatments.

Chronic conditions, naturally, will take longer to treat, although improvements are often felt with each acupuncture session.

Painful conditions are best treated twice weekly until your level of pain has reduced and is no longer causing you major discomfort.

Even though you may feel relief after 1 treatment, acupuncture is not an instant fix.  The majority of conditions have taken time to develop and will take time to resolve completely.  Just like a course of pills will have the desired affect while 1 pill won’t, most people need a course of acupuncture treatments to build on the effect of previous sessions.  Adherence to the treatment plan and advice given during your consultation will ensure you give acupuncture the best possible chance to achieve the results you desire.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu (ancient Chinese philosopher)