Seeing Chris has opened up a whole new world to me, leading to a much greater understanding of my health and myself on all levelsClare, 37. Hove
After 20 years in practice, I have sadly hung up my acupuncture apron to focus full-time on my work with Amplify Pro.
Acupuncture is a coherent system of medicine that developed in China over the last 5,000 years. Clinical experiences have been handed down through the generations to form what is practised today - an integration of traditional principles with modern medical knowledge.
For whatever reason acupuncture treatment is used, people often report general benefits. These include: coping better with stressful situations, feeling better in themselves, having more energy, greater clarity of thought, sleeping better and feeling calmer.
Treatment is focused on the whole person - not just the disease or discomfort - and so acupuncture can also benefit those who don't have a labelled condition, but still feel unwell or just not quite right, physically or emotionally. A great range of issues can be addressed at the same time, with the relationship between them being a central part of treatment.
In Chinese medicine, there is a wealth of knowledge accumulated over thousands of years, including dietary advice and lifestyle insights that can improve the quality of our health.
Your first consultation involves talking in detail about your main issue, any other issues, and your general health, and checking your pulse and tongue. This all forms the basis of a diagnosis. At follow up sessions, we will check in about your progress and anything else that has come up.
Acupuncture needles are gently placed into acu-points, quite commonly around your arms and legs. Usually the needles are left for 15 minutes or so whilst you relax.
The sensation felt when the acupuncture point is activated tends to range from a gentle dull ache to a tingling or momentary electric sensation. After a few times, it doesn't seem unusual.
Single-use disposable sterile needles are always used. A new needle is used for each point, and afterwards they are safely stored for incineration.
It is common to feel relaxed during and after an acupuncture treatment, or a little spacey, or mellow. This usually lifts after an hour or so, but it can last the rest of the day. It's usually very pleasant.
But acupuncture isn't primarily about the way you tend to feel during or immediately after a treatment, but how a series of treatments enhances your health. After treatment I recommend that you pretty much go about your normal day.
How Does It Work?
We are often asked how acupuncture works. It's not that easy to explain, but here's a basic outline:
Central to Chinese medicine is the notion of a vital energy known as Qi (pronounced chee). It is the force in our bodies that warms, holds, protects, moves and transforms. It is the energy that gives us life.
Qi energy is concentrated in channels that flow through our entire body, connecting to all our organs and tissues. At the surface, the Qi concentrates at specific points, called acupuncture points, and these are used in a treatment.
Placing fine needles into acupuncture points affects the movement of Qi in the channels. If our Qi is imbalanced or disrupted in some way, ill-health or pain will result - physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.
Acupuncture can help these disruptions. The Qi can be moved, strengthened, warmed, or calmed, as needed, using acu-points that have been seen to create the desired effect.
Acupuncture operates at a subtle level, and it can be quite an experience.
Depending on the reason for your treatment, there may be bits of advice that I will offer you. If you can follow the advice you've been given, it will enhance the success of the treatment.
I know how hard some lifestyle changes can be to sustain. Have a go at making the changes, but don't worry if it doesn't work out. I will support you throughout - it is always better to work from one achievable change to the next.
How many treatments?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer in advance. Quite simply, different people respond at different rates to treatment.
Acupuncture has an accumulative effect: typically it requires a course of treatments to develop the benefits. This means that you may experience little or no immediate improvement in your condition after one or two sessions.
As the factors that are contributing to your complaint are dealt with, progress can come quite quickly.
Many people do experience marked improvements in their condition after each treatment, and to a certain extent, we would expect you to notice some change each time.
As a very general guide, I recommend people allow 4-6 treatments to give time for the medicine to create changes.
Can I use medication or other therapies?
Acupuncture works alongside every other therapy, and can even be used to enhance their effect.
It can also be used to support the effects of medication, and help reduce their side-effects. So it is a suitable therapy to use alongside the care you get from your GP.
Sometimes people feel that they should only use one type of therapy at a time, and there's something to be said for not overloading your system. If you're not sure whether you can combine treatments, just ask.
What about new complaints?
It is, of course, the nature of things that new conditions may arise during the time that you are seeing me for treatment.
Acupuncture is a holistic medicine, which means it can be used to treat the whole of you: a recent injury; a time of particular stress; just not sleeping well; been getting some headaches...
Whatever it is, let me know. I would expect to be able to help.
In the west, we are used to a medical approach that tends to address just one symptom at a time, but acupuncture doesn't work that way. So please don't feel you can only talk to me about your initial complaint. Whatever else may crops up, let's chat about it at your next appointment.
What else can be treated?
Acupuncture is based around you, the individual; not the name of your illness or condition.
So anyone can be treated by acupuncture for almost anything: the treatment is focused on your own personal situation, and that always has the potential to be helped by acupuncture.
This is not to imply that every individual will respond well to treatment, and just like any other system of medicine, acupuncture has limitations - some people's conditions are just too fixed or developed to make the desired changes.
Thank you so much to all my patients over the years. It has truly been a fantastic experience, and I will miss you deeply.
Very best wishes