Acupuncture Treatment - What to expect on your first visit
Acupuncture treatment is a modality that is often used as part of your physiotherapy treatment plan to alleviate pain and stiffness of a musculoskeletal nature by promoting the bodies own natural healing properties. It can also be used with a more Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to to allow your body to restore balance and homeostasis.
On your first visit a full history will be taken to include your current symptoms and what you hope to gain from acupuncture treatment, your general health, any medications that you may be taking and about your activity levels, what you do for a living and what you do in your spare time. You will be asked to sign a consent form.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine model treats the body as a whole, where each organ and acupuncture meridian is dependent on one another. You may be asked about your bladder and bowel habits, the quality of your sleep, your diet and fluid intake. The tongue is checked for colour and/or any coating and your pulse is taken at both wrists, this can show up organ disharmony. Sometimes the abdomen is palpated for signs of tenderness.
Is Acupuncture Treatment safe?
Acupuncture is generally very safe. Serious side effects are very rare – less than 1 per 10,000 treatments.
Does Acupuncture Treatment have side effects?
You will be advised that:
Drowsiness can occur after treatment in a small number of patients, and, if affected, you are advised not to drive, this is usually short lived and most people will be fine after a few minutes rest and a drink of water.
Minor bleeding or bruising occurs after acupuncture in around 3% of treatments.
Pain during treatment occurs in about 1% of treatments.
Existing symptoms can get worse after treatment (less than 3% of patients), but this is usually a good sign.
Fainting can occur in certain patients, particularly after the first treatment. To prevent this treatment is usually done laying down and the first treatment may be reduced to 10-15 minutes rather than the more usual 20-25 minutes.
Single use sterile needles are used at every treatment.
How Many needles will be used?
This will depend on your symptoms. It is usual for upto 10-12 needles to be used in one treatment.
Where will the needles be placed?
The needles are usually around the painful area and further away. The most common areas are the arms and legs, the back and sometimes the abdomen, face or scalp. The most powerful, or influential points, are below the elbows and knees. For menstrual or infertility issues more abdomen points may be added.
What will I feel? Does it hurt?
You will feel a pin prick sensation as the needle is inserted into the skin. Once the needle is in the acupuncture point it is gently stimulated until you feel a deep, heavy sensation. This is the Qi (pronounced chee) or energy of the meridian. Once you can feel the qi, the needles are left in situ. Sometimes they are stimulated at intervals throughout the treatment and sometimes they are left alone, depending upon your diagnosis.
What happens after acupuncture treatment?
There is usually very little, or no, bleeding as the needles are removed. You will be advised to get up slowly and rest if needed. A drink of water can be helpful. After treatment you may feel tired or sleepy, you are advised to go with it and not do anything too strenuous. You may find that you sleep very well that night. Pain can feel easier immediately or from the next day. You are advised to drink plenty of water after treatment.
Your Acupuncture treatment will be dependent on your personal assessment findings. to find out more.