Traditional acupuncture forms a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine where the basis of diagnosis and treatment is that the mind and body should be in perfect balance.
This ancient system of healing has developed over 2,500 years originating in China and other far Eastern cultures. It is a gentle and effective treatment that focuses on helping the whole person, aiming to improve their entire health and wellbeing and today is widely used and accepted all over the world.
Having your first traditional acupuncture treatment
Before having your first traditional acupuncture treatment there are a just a few simple steps to follow which ensure you get the most out of your session:
Avoid alcohol and caffeine:
The main goal of traditional acupuncture is to make you feel more relaxed and calm, therefore avoid doing anything that can jeopardise this. For example fizzy drinks and coffee all make you feel more alert and energised. Believe it or not this affects your pulse and makes it much harder for your practitioner to get accurate readings.
Plan to have a meal 2-3 hours before your appointment to allow your food to digest. Don’t go with an empty stomach and more importantly don’t go just after a big meal as you may need to lie on your front.
It’s important to try and keep your day free after the session or make sure you don’t do anything too stressful. After treatment you’ll feel incredibly relaxed so try not to do anything that can alter that.
It is a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothes so that the traditional acupuncture points, especially those on your lower limbs, are easily accessible.
Your acupuncturist will do a full diagnostic consultation asking questions about your medical history including all aspects of your health and wellbeing. Your acupuncturist will also look at your tongue and feel your pulses on both wrists. This comprehensive diagnostic consultation allows the practitioner to create a bespoke treatment plan including lifestyle and dietary advice as well as acupuncture.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions required will depend entirely on the individual patient and the condition. Your acupuncturist will normally ask to see you once or twice a week at first. Some change is usually felt within five or six treatments, although occasionally just one or two treatments are sufficient.
How can acupuncture help me?
A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture, as practised by British Acupuncture Council members safely treats a wide range of common health problems including short-term relief of symptoms such as low back pain, tension-type headaches and migraine-type headaches. It can also be used to help temporarily relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee (along with exercise and conventional medicine). In fact the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on best practice now recommend that GPs offer a course of 10 sessions of acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain. In September last year, NICE announced it also recognises acupuncture’s benefits for migraines and tension-type headaches too.