Acupuncture Tales From The Treatment Couch

Here is the latest in the occasional series, Acupuncture Tales From The Treatment Couch. We discuss what will happen during that crucial first acupuncture session? What should I expect to happen on the treatment couch?

For what must be an unfamiliar situation for some, here is a typical scenario. It is based on a patient with tennis elbow, a painful condition of the elbow which can cause loss of grip, and an inability to perform everyd

Acupuncture Tales From The Treatment Couchay tasks such as opening drawers and pouring tea.

During the initial consultation with your acupuncturist you will be asked lots of questions about your problem. How did it start, when did it start, how does it feel, what does the condition prevent you from doing? It is also helpful for the practitioner to know what makes the condition better and what makes it worse. Did you try applying heat, is the soreness better or worse for rubbing? The answers to these will help to formulate the most effective acupuncture treatment strategy for you.

Following this you will be asked questions about your general health and lifestyle. What do you do for a living, do you open your bowels every day, are you a hot person? Such questions can help to pinpoint any underlying factors. For example if you tend towards poor circulation in your hands, you may be more prone to arm muscle strain in cold weather. In this case careful application of heat may be of great benefit as part of your treatment.

Phyical assessment of the injury may involve testing specific movements of your affected arm, and pressing for tender points. These tests are important in establishing a baseline before treatment starts.

So what about treatment itself? This may involve the insertion of hair-fine needles, the application of moxa herb to warm the tissues, massage and other acupuncture related techniques. Electrical stimulation may also be used to enhance the overall effect.

At stages during treatment, tender areas may be pressed again and any lessening of sensitivity noted. Range of movement may be similarly retested. Any improvement is an encouraging factor, though recovery is not always apparent straight away (especially during the first session or two).

And finally a word about expectations. I often remark that acupuncture treatment is like building a house – you lay the foundations first and then apply the bricks course by course. The casual bystander may not notice any sign of the housebuilding until the first few courses have been laid. Don’t be afraid to ask your practitioner how things are progressing.

Acupuncture Awareness Week

According to a report released to mark Acupuncture Awareness Week (7th-13th March 2016), almost three in ten Brits exercise more now than they did ten years ago, more than half have been injured during sport in the past, with one in three never recovering from their injuries.

Acupuncture awareness week is as it sounds, the opportunity for you to find out more about what is becoming an increasingly popular way to overcome some of the hurdles life can put in your way.

Acupuncture Awareness Week

Read the big stories, including how Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington has used acupuncture to put injury behind her. We ask what is acupuncture, who has acupuncture, and how can acupuncture help me?

And finally, to help you make an informed choice, we at The Acupuncture Centre in Bramcote, Nottingham are offering FREE 15 minute consulations for the whole week. This is a great opportunity for you to meet the acupuncturist Martin Dean and ask those questions that really matter to you.

Call 07969 41 31 58 to book your appointment.

Does Acupuncture Hurt And Other Questions

Our patients are naturally curious, especially about something as unfamiliar as traditional acupuncture. The questions they ask are straightforward, but the answers we offer them are often far from simple (after all we have spent much time and money studying the subject). A key part of my job as a practitioner is to explain unfamiliar concepts in familiar terms (it is something I constantly refine). An ancient Chinese text reminds us that

“so much of all illness begins in the mind, and the ability to persuade the patient to change the course of perception and feeling to aid in the healing process is a requirement of a good physician.”

Here are the top five questions patients tend to ask.

  1. Do the needles hurt?
Does Acupuncture Hurt And Other Questions

Five Common Questions About Acupuncture

Prospective patients often hesitate over this issue before picking up the phone, but like many things in life this is usually an overstated anxiety. When given by appropriately trained practitioners (such as British Acupuncture Council registered individuals) needle insertion is usually accompanied by rather mild sensations.

See earlier blog post on this topic

  1. Are you familiar with treating my condition?

This boils down to the question “how can I be sure of choosing the right practitioner”?

Ask about professional qualifications and status. The British Acupuncture Council is the UK’s largest regulatory body for practitioners of traditional acupuncture with around 3,000 members .

Ask how long they have been in practice. The more experienced the acupuncturist is, the more likely it will be that they have already treated someone with your condition. Ask them about their success rate. Perhaps this is a condition they specialise in. If not then have they treated something similar? Do they have an understanding of your symptoms? How they might be able to help? Can you communicate with this person?

The British Acupuncture Council have a series of fact sheets which provide accurate and un-biased information for a variety of conditions.

  1. How many sessions will I need?

This is often difficult to judge at the outset since everyone is different.  There are however some rules of thumb that can be helpful.

The first step is to book an initial consultation with your chosen practitioner so he can assess your circumstances. From this he will be able to suggest some pointers which will help you to build a roadmap to recovery.

For example you might expect to start feeling more refreshed after sleep, experience milder premenstrual mood swings or feel more energised. Each can indicate progress towards the main goal. Ask about expectations – does he expect you to make a full recovery? Does this feel right to you?

Initial treatment may be given weekly or twice weekly until symptoms begin to stabilize, then will be offered less frequently until the main treatment goal is reached.

  1. Why don’t you stick it where it hurts?

“I have come with a back problem, so why are you putting needles in my feet?”

See earlier blog post on this topic

  1. How did you get into acupuncture in the first place?

Men and women train in this field for various reasons. Some are so impressed by their experience of receiving acupuncture treatment that they have an ‘aha’ moment. Others are interested by the philosophy behind acupuncture and see it as a way of changing the world. Some have an overriding desire to help their fellow human beings. Often it is a combination of these.

In my case it was intense curiosity that drove me to read every book on the subject. If acupuncture was so good and had been around for hundreds of years, how come it wasn’t routinely available from my GP? I spent fifteen years working as an electronics engineer in the telecommunications industry, and this question was still with me when considering the option of career change.

Taking a three year degree (or degree equivalent) course is no easy option, but the rewards are tremendous! Nothing matches the thrill of helping someone to get their life back or to become pregnant after years of trying.