How it works
Acupuncture works by stimulating the body's own healing response. It was first developed in China over 2000 years ago and recent research has shown that it triggers areas of the brain responsible for relieving pain. Research has also shown that acupuncture stimulates the release of melatonin in the body, which promotes sleep, and the release of serotonin, which encourages relaxation and a sense of wellbeing. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative so people respond in different ways and at different rates which means the number of treatments required will depend on you, your condition and your overall health.
What to expect
During your first appointment Amanda will need to gain a thorough understanding of your main complaint and your general health and lifestyle. This involves asking questions about your current symptoms and medical history, as well as such things as your sleeping pattern, your appetite and digestion, and your emotional wellbeing. If you are a woman Amanda will also ask about your menstrual cycle and any past pregnancies and childbirth.
You might feel that some questions appear unrelated to your condition but the information you give helps Amanda to form a more complete picture of your health and lifestyle. Amanda may also take your pulse on both wrists and examine your tongue. She may feel for areas of muscular tension or pain if she feels it is necessary.
Your main health complaint
When talking about your main complaint, Amanda will ask you to describe in your own words what the symptoms feel like and how severe they are. She will also ask you how long you have been having the symptoms, whether they are constant or intermittent and how frequent they are. You should mention any medication that you are taking and whether you have tried any other therapies.
Based on all the information you have given Amanda, she will make a diagnosis and put together an appropriate treatment plan for you, which may include lifestyle and dietary advice as well as acupuncture.
During your acupuncture treatment Amanda will use very fine single-use pre-sterilised needles to stimulate specific acupuncture points on your body. Because energy flows all around the body, the points she may use won't necessarily be close to where you experience pain or discomfort. For example, if you suffer from headaches she might insert a needle into your foot or hand.
As well as inserting needles into specific acupuncture points, Amanda may also use any of the following techniques to treat you:
If it is appropriate Amanda may suggest ways in which you can enhance the long-term effects of your treatment. This may involve making changes to your diet and daily routine.
Most people find acupuncture relaxing and often feel very calm after a treatment. You may feel a little tired or light-headed but this is completely normal and is a sign that your body has responded to acupuncture and has started the healing process. You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment.
Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and short-lived. Cupping and guasha can sometimes temporarily mark the skin. Such bruising is painless and generally clears within a day or two.