What to expect during an acupuncture treatment
The first visit starts with getting to know better the patient, with general questions related to their professional life, personal status and medical history.
We then get to what the person is coming for and would like the treatment to focus on : when did the trouble start, how does it manifest itself, evolves, any accompagnying symptoms etc.
Then, general aspects will be looked into, which may sound pretty unusual : whether the person is generally sensitive to the cold or heat, describing perspiration, digestion, sleeping habits for instance.
Following on, other elements will allow to finalise the diagnosis : taking the pulse (according to the Chinses pulse taking method), looking at the tongue, and if needed, the palpation of certain areas of the body
According to the diagnostis established with all these elements, I will define the most suitable treatment protocole.
The treatment can in some cases bring immediate relief, and this is what is the result that I'm looking for ; however in chronic illnesses and troubles, it will usualy take more than one session to feel the benefits of the acupuncture treatments.
Therefore a series of sessions is usually necessary and may be planned. At the end of this series (typically 5 sessions for chronic conditions), a review of the improvements will be looked at before deciding the way to move forward – continue or stop the treatment.
Depending on the trouble (type of trouble, chronic vs acute, stabilisation of the trouble vs initial treatments...), the frequency of the acupuncture sessions will vary – most of the time between once a week and once a month.
An acupuncture session takes generally about 1 hour.
However the initial treatment session is longer in order to ensure that all the medical, personal history and the person's specific enquiry for the treatment are covered and taken into account. Therefore it can take up about 1,5 hour.
Is it painful? Does it leave marks?
Inserting the needle through the skin is generally painless.
When the needle reaches the depth where the Qi flows, it activates its circulation and when that happens, the patient may feel a sensation like a small electric current, or a feeling of distension for example; it may be very local or irradiating to another part of the body. This sensation is very short and does not last as the needle stays in place for the rest of the treatment.
It is possible that small blood vessels lie in the area needled, and small bruises or a blood drop may appear as the needled is removed. The practitioner does their best to avoid this as much as possible, but it may happen and in any case is not dangerous.
Cups may leave purple marks on the skin after their removal. If this may be seen as unpleasant visually, it can be a positive sign of the efficacy of the treatment!