Your initial visit will take up to an hour and a half and consists of a personal and medical consultation covering your family history, lifestyle, systems functions (eg. sleep, appetite) and full details of your current complaint/s and any test or investigations that you have had. You will also have the opportunity to discuss in complete confidence any concerns or troubles you may currently be dealing with. After your consultation I will carry out a number of short non-invasive physical diagnostic tests including blood pressure, temperature distribution and pulse taking. In most cases, aside from the most complex, this is then followed by your first treatment. Subsequent appointments take up to one hour, and include discussion of your progress and your treatment to date.
Many patients are concerned that acupuncture maybe painful but as the needles are flexible and about as thick as two human hairs there is usually only a very slight sensation as it enters the skin. Sometimes patients also feel a dull ache on the acupuncture point but this also only lasts for a few seconds and is generally not considered to be uncomfortable. Many find acupuncture relaxing and feel very calm during and after a treatment; you may also feel a little tired or sleepy so if possible, try to arrange a relatively restful and quiet day, especially for your first treatment.
Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments currently on offer in the UK, in fact in 2001 a number of studies concluded that the risk of serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. Any minor side effects that do occur, such as dizziness or bruising around needle points, are infrequent, mild and self-correcting. To see more information regarding the safety of acupuncture please visit the British Acupuncture Council's website.