What to expect during an acupuncture appointment
What to expect during an acupuncture appointment On your first visit, you will have a consultation regarding the reason for your visit. You will be asked about your medical history, and anything which may be related to the condition you are presenting with. You will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns and to ask questions. Based on the diagnosis, a treatment plan will be recommended. After the consultation, you will receive treatment in the same visit.
During the treatment, you may feel relaxed and find yourself drifting off. This is perfectly fine. Sometimes tranquil music is played to help with relaxation. I usually come back in a few times to make sure everything is ok.
People find acupuncture very relaxing. The soothing quiet is a very precious factor of the acupuncture treatment in today’s rushed and busy lifestyle. Feel free to discuss anything concerning your progress during the consultation or after the session, but it is best for you and your treatment if the calm and tranquility is preserved. Remember, it usually takes more than one treatment to obtain the results you are looking for. Give it time. Especially combined with some lifestyle changes, and specific exercises, remarkable results can be obtained.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Many people are surprised to find that acupuncture needles are very thin and fine. Most people consider the insertion of the needles to be painless, and many do not feel it at all. However, to obtain results, the needles are manipulated slightly, which results in a feeling of tingling. Sometimes there might be an energetic sensation going up or down your arm or leg. Some people feel nothing at all.
Sterile, disposable needles are only used once, and then disposed of in the proper way.
How long is an acupuncture treatment?
Once inserted, the needles are retained for thirty minutes. Follow-up appointments consist of a much shorter consultation/diagnosis period where you will discuss any progress or changes you felt. A typical treatment can last from 40 minutes to one hour, depending on the patient and condition. If necessary, an acupuncture treatment may be combined with therapeutic massage, e.g. Shiatsu or Tuina, as well as specific exercises like Qigong breathing exercises.
How many treatments will I need?
The frequency and length of treatment needed depends on the individual and the main complaint. Acupuncture works on the premise that regular treatments are needed to be effective. Depending on the condition and the severity, patients may start off with 1-3 treatments a week. Then as the condition improves, maybe 1 treatment a week. Then 1 treatment a fortnight.
A typical course of treatment is 10 – 15 sessions. Again, it must be stressed that this varies from individual to individual. Some patients are remarkably sensitive to acupuncture and respond much quicker, while others may need longer to treat the same condition. Some acute conditions may only need 1 treatment.
Once the condition has resolved, many patients choose to continue treatment for maintenance and preventative care. These maintenance visits can be monthly, every other month, seasonally, or semi-annually, depending on the patient’s goals. Also, if a patient takes up an exercise like Tai Chi and Qigong, they will find that these have similar effects to acupuncture. These exercise routines need to be practiced every day to be effective.
Do I need to keep coming after my symptoms are gone?
Generally once your symptoms are gone, you do not need to have any more treatment. Depending on the nature and history of the disorder, future treatments are usually not necessary to prevent recurrence. There are exceptions such as chronic conditions that tend to recur, like low back pain, arthritis etc.
What are maintenance tune-ups?
Some patients like to come on a monthly or quarterly basis for preventative care. Our bodies are in a constant state of change and sometimes small problems can develop which can go on to become major concerns if left unchecked. Just as your dentist recommends periodic checkups to help detect tooth decay before it leads to serious problems, regular acupuncture treatments can help identify and correct small problems before they become bigger ones. This prevents the development of more serious health problems that require more time and financial investment to treat.
Most medical insurance companies in Ireland give cover for acupuncture. You will be given a receipt, either after each visit, or after a course of treatment. The receipts can be given to your insurance company. Part or all can be reclaimed depending on your cover.
David Hankey Acupuncture Cork