|20th March 2018|
What's involved?Treatments normally take between 45 minutes to an hour. The first session is longer as this includes a consultation where you will have the opportunity to tell me why you are coming for acupuncture, what you hope it will achieve, your current state of health, emotional well-being, medical history and any medication you may be taking. It is important for me to build a clear picture of you to be able to diagnose which element is ultimately causing you trouble. I will do a short physical examination which may include taking your pulses on both wrists, measuring your blood pressure and looking at your tongue. During the first session I will do a 'detox' treatment which involves leaving needles in your back for a few minutes to clear any blocked or negative energy from your body, the second treatment is then tailored to your specific needs.
Again I'm asked how many treatments will be needed. This will vary from person to person but as a general rule the longer you have suffered from an ailment or disease the longer it takes to resolve. Having said that, many people find their general well-being, mood, and other minor symptoms improve very quickly. As with a visit to your doctor, there are no guarantees that treatments will work, but with acupuncture there are no side effects of drugs.
I use very fine, surgical steel, single use needles and in most cases the needles are inserted into the acupuncture point, turned and removed immediately. Sometimes they are left in place for 5-10 minutes.
I'm often asked if acupuncture hurts. This is a difficult question to answer as it varies from person to person. For most people the needling itself is painless - the needles are so fine. It is the sensation of the needle connecting with the acupuncture point and the qi or energy that provides the sensation. This can be likened to a dull ache or gentle buzz but sometimes it can sting or be sharp. These feelings pass in seconds and most patients still fine the process strangely relaxing!
Alongside Acupuncture I may use one of the following other therapies as part of the treatment I give.
What can it treat?Acupuncture has been proven effective to treat many things from back pain to headaches. I personally do not treat symptoms but I treat the person which is one of the reasons acupuncture differs so much from western medicine. We are all very different and therefore treatments need to be tailored to the individual. Treating symptoms may well alleviate the problem for a while but often symptoms return or even move to a different area.
Five Element Acupuncture is very effective in treating mental and emotional problems as well as physical ailments.
What to wearAcupuncture points are located all over the body, from head to toe and I will need to access different areas depending on the need of each treatment. Treatments are holistic so even if you just have a pain in your elbow I will need to needle points on other areas of your body too. During the first treatment for example, I always needle some points on the back. So you need to be prepared to undress down to your underwear, I personally don't ask people to undress unless I need to access a point when I'll ask them to remove only what clothing is necessary. I often work on arms, legs and feet so loose clothing that can be rolled up is helpful, so tight fitting, body hugging, all in one suits are best avoided.
Gua ShaGua Sha is healing technique used throughout Asia. Gua means to rub or friction. Sha is the term used to describe congestion of blood at the surface of the body. When friction is applied in repeated even strokes,the sha surfaces as small red petechiae.The sha disappears totally in two to four days.
There are many benefits in using Gua Sha. It moves stuck blood, promoting normal circulation to the muscles, tissues, and organs directly beneath the surface treated. Patients can experience immediate changes in stiffness, pain and mobility.
CuppingCupping is an ancient Chinese treatment and involves the application of glass or plastic cups which adhere to the body through the use of a pump or by heat (I use a pump)to create a vacuum. You will feel the cup pull up on the skin. The cups are used over certain acupuncture points and/or over areas of pain.
Once the cups are attached, they are generally left on for 5-15 minutes and are removed by letting the air out. They do leave a mark on the body which lasts for about 4-10 days depending on the condition. The mark is very useful as a diagnostic tool - the darker the mark, the more stagnation there is in the muscles. As the marks lighten through progressive treatments, it is a sign that the underlying conditions are improving.
The general idea is that stagnation of blood and energy in the muscles and body tissues will lead to pain and other illnesses. Cupping improves the circulation in these areas and pain is alleviated and underlying health issues are often helped. Cupping helps such issues as generalized pain, injuries of the back/shoulders/neck, etc.
Auricular AcupunctureThis form of acupuncture works by applying needles to specific points of the ear. In auricular acupuncture the ear is seen as a micro~system of the body, (the auricle - the outer portion of the ear represents an inverted foetus in the womb) with each acupoint corresponding to a particular area of the anatomy.
This style of acupuncture is relatively modern having been developed in France in the 1950s by Paul Nogier who is considered the Father of modern ear acupuncture. It was found that stimulation of a reflex point in the ear seemed to relieve symptoms of distant pathologies.
This style of acupuncture is quite different from Five Element Acupuncture as it's more formulaic rather than tailored but it can be very effective in treating various complaints. It has added benefits of being non intrusive, there is no need to remove clothing - other than hats, ear-muffs and hearing aids, therefore it is suitable for a group.
I work at the Force Cancer Support Centre in Exeter where I run groups to help people with the effects of cancer treatment using auricular acupuncture. I have a group to help head and neck cancer patients deal with the results of radiotherapy which tends to leave patients with limited or no saliva. There is a group for anxiety and fatigue and by far the most popular and successful is the group suffering from hot flushes and night sweats. After over 2 years of treating patients in this group, over 80% of people have a positive reaction - either a reduction in frequency, severity or both after 6 weekly sessions.
I obviously have found these protocols work well for women going through the menopause as well as women and men having flushes following treatment for cancer. I run courses of 6 weekly sessions lasting just under an hour for hot flushes and night sweats in Exeter for a maximum of 7 people.
The group sessions can be very enjoyable for participants. It gives an opportunity for those attending to talk with others in the same situation. Five needles are placed in each ear and left for approximately 40 minutes. Some people will notice an improvement within the first couple of weeks, most will see a difference after week 4 and some don't see any improvement until the last session. As with any form of medicine for a very few people acupuncture doesn't make any noticeable difference, however, in my experience most people get some benefit from the treatment and some say it's life-changing!
I run a group for treating dry mouth (xerostomia) following head and neck radiotherapy on alternate Wednesdays. This is a friendly group and we tend to laugh a lot - which is all part of the therapy!
For more information and dates of the next group please contact me.
MoxabustionMoxibustion is an essential part of Chinese medicine which uses moxa, a soft woolly substance prepared from mugwort leaves (Artemisia vulgaris). In moxibustion the moxa is placed either directly on the skin or held just above it, over specific acupuncture points or meridians. The herb is lit and as it smoulders slowly, a therapeutic heat permeates the skin and affects the flow of ‘qi’ (energy) and blood in the area being treated.
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