As a traditional acupuncturist I use the principles of Chinese medicine to make treatment plans for my patients. I incorporate two styles into my practice – Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Five Element Acupuncture treats the patient’s deepest constitutional imbalance. TCM treats other energetic patterns as well as acute imbalances. This combination allows me to treat patients with a wide variety of conditions, both chronic and acute.
The initial consultation is very important to understand the background of the main complaint. In order to devise a treatment plan a traditional acupuncturist needs to get an understanding of how the patient’s body currently functions. As well as asking detailed questions about the history of your main complaint and what you are currently experiencing I will also ask lots of questions that may not seem related e.g. how easily you fall asleep, if you are susceptible to hot, cold or damp weather, what your appetite is like, details of your menstrual cycle (women), mood, levels of energy. All of these question and others give an indication as to how qi (energy) is functioning.
In addition to questioning, traditional acupuncturists take the patients pulse and may look at the patients tongue as, in terms of Chines medicine, there is diagnostic information to be felt and seen.
Acupuncture needles are ultra-fine sterile needles and are nothing like needles you may have experienced when having an injection or blood test. When an acupuncture needle is inserted into a point a common sensation is a momentary intense or dull ache or a pull. Depending on the treatment plan the needles may be left in for up to 20 minutes or simply put in and then taken straight out. Other traditional Chinese medicine techniques may also be used including moxa, cupping, guasha and tui-na.
The number of treatments depends on the complexity of the case. However the expectation would be that some level of improvement would be seen after each treatment. It may be that diet and lifestyle advice may be required. Some people choose to have regular acupuncture to maintain good health and for relaxation and wellbeing.