Generally acupuncture is pain free. Sometimes though, certain points may be particularly sensitive and you may feel a brief moment of discomfort as the needle is inserted. You may also feel sensations of pressure, tingling or electric sensations. These kinds of sensations usually last for only a few seconds and settle quickly allowing you to enter a peaceful, deep relaxation.
If you feel uncomfortable with acupuncture, acupressure massage can always be used as an alternative.
If an acupuncture practitioner is a professional then yes acupuncture is safe. Professional acupuncture practitioners spend at least 3 years learning the correct location of acupuncture points along with anatomy, physiology and correct diagnosis, ensuring your safety. Make sure that your practitioner is a member of a professional association like the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine ATCM) or the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) in the UK or the Grupo MTC Practitioners Register in Spain.
Yes. All needles used in this practice are for single use only, are sterilised and individually wrapped in blister packs. Needles are then disposed of after use.
The quantity of needles used depends very much on the condition treated and may range from approximately 6 to 25. Often the front of the body is treated followed by the back which can increase the number of needles used in a treatment.
If you are nervous of needles don't worry, acupressure massage, moxibustion and cupping can be used to good effect instead!
As a general rule of thumb, the longer you have been suffering from an illness, the longer it takes to treat. If you have been suffering for 20 years then it may well take 6 months to 1 year to treat. On the other hand, if you have been suffering for 2 weeks, then it is likely that your condition will clear up very quickly with acupuncture treatment. Of course there are always exceptions to this rule.
Usually it is recommended that you have 4-6 treatments in order to see concrete results. Miracles rarely happen after one treatment, although occasionally this is the case!
Positive responses to acupuncture can range from management of a chronic condition, recession of an illness to complete cure.
Acupressure Massage (Tuina)
Acupressure can be used in many different ways depending on the presenting condition. If being used for some kind of injury or musculoskeletal problem, the techniques used can be quite strong in order to vigorously promote circulation and relieve pain. In other cases when being used for general relaxation, anxiety and insomnia, very gentle manipulations are used on pressure points.
Yes, acupressure can be used in a very similar way to acupuncture, with pressure points being chosen based on the presenting pattern of disharmony according to the diagnostic principles of Chinese Medicine.
Tuina acupressure massage is an ancient system of medical massage, the origins of which have been traced back to at least 2700 years BC. It is considered to be one of three branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the other two being acupuncture and Herbal medicine. Using the principles of TCM diagnosis, there are many unique massage techniques that can be applied in a Tuina acupressure session to address the presenting condition.
Yes, Tuina techniques are applied to the acupuncture points and meridians found in Chinese Medicine.
First of all, a detailed case history will be taken in order to establish exactly what treatment is required according to your unique condition. You will then be asked to lie comfortably on a massage couch, and the massage will begin.
In most cases, oils will be used but depending on your preference and the condition being treated, acupressure can be performed through loose clothing. It is best to wear loose clothing. Acupressure is often used alongside acupuncture in the same treatment.
No, Tuina is very effective for general relaxation as well as for treating specific conditions.
The decision to embark on a cycle of IVF or other Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) therapies like Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is not an easy decision for any couple. It will often follow a long history of failed attempts and disappointment leading to feelings frustration, anger and grief. Couples may become depressed and anxious, and terrible strain can be put on their relationships.
The IVF process in particular can be very stressful to undergo, with an intense drug regime and frequent trips to the fertility clinic for scans, egg collections and embryo transfers. On top of this, the success rate of IVF therapy can be up to 35% (which varies from clinic to clinic), so there is a chance that after all this effort, the treatment will not be successful.
Given this discomfiting background, couples will undergo IVF feeling that if there is any chance of conceiving whatsoever, that it must be explored or they will not find peace, with the knowledge that many healthy children are conceived using ART therapies. If nothing is successful and other alternatives like adoption are to be considered, then at least they can feel that they tried their very best to do everything possible and can accept this.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to regulate the menstrual cycle, promote fertility and secure pregnancy. Firstly, a course (4-6 weekly sessions), or several courses of acupuncture treatments is given prior to the start of the IVF cycle, often in combination with Chinese herbal medicine. The effect of this treatment is to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, improve sleep and calm the emotions. At the same time, tonic points are used in order to promote the function of the reproductive organs, optimizing the system for the subsequent IVF cycle.
During the IVF process, the main function of acupuncture is to help to relax and promote the function of the uterus, help the patient to de-stress and reduce anxiety about the process, and also to moderate any side effects of the IVF drug regime which can occasionally be severe. Mid-cycle, acupuncture is administered both before and after embryo transfer using a specific set of points that have been shown to increase the effectiveness of IVF by up to 50% (Paulus et al 2002). After embryo transfer, treatment is once again aimed at relaxing the patient and reducing anxiety about the success or failure of the process. There is convincing research that shows that acupuncture can improve the success rate of IVF therapy from 35% to over 40% (Paulus et al. 2002).
Some men like to have acupuncture concurrently with their partners in order to de-stress, relax and to feel like they are not excluded from the process. This can be very helpful in cases where relationships are under pressure.
Reference Article: Paulus W., Zhang M, El-Danasouri I, Strehler E, and Sterzik K (2002) 'Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy.' Fertility and Sterility. April 2002.
Chinese herbal medicine like acupuncture has a long history of use in helping to regulate the menstrual cycle, promote fertility and secure pregnancy. Herbal formulas are prescribed for 3 months or more prior to the start of the IVF cycle, often in conjunction with acupuncture in order to regulate the menstrual cycle, nourish and relax the uterus and prepare the body and mind for the IVF drugs. Once the IVF cycle starts, the herbal medicines are withdrawn and acupuncture is used.
If after two or three unsuccessful cycles of IVF, herbal formulas can be introduced during the cycle in order to help increase the chances of success.
Reference: Wolfgang E. Paulus et al. ‘Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy’ Fertility and Sterility, Vol 77, No.4, April (2002)
Not necessarily. The medical profession (in the UK) does not diagnose infertility until you have been trying for one year. It is however never too early to start introducing changes to your lifestyle that will facilitate conception such as regulating ones diet, reducing alcohol intake, and reducing stress as much as possible.
There are many factors that can compromise female fertility. Some of the main ones are listed here. It is important to consult with your doctor if you have concerns about your fertility:
Age: After the age of 40, the function of the ovaries starts to decline significantly which results in the production of lesser quality eggs which may not develop so well after fertilisation. Hormone levels in the body decrease, reducing the uterine lining and making it more difficult for an embryo to implant. In Chinese medicine, this corresponds with the natural decline of the Kidney Yin, Yang and Jing (essence).
Anovulation: In some cases ovulation does not occur for various reasons such as long term use of the contraceptive pill and polycystic ovaries. Depending on the cause, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can be very effective at reestablishing ovulation and the normal menstrual cycle so that pregnancy can occur.
Fallopian Tube Blockage: Due to trauma, mucus plugs, endometriosis and infections like Chlamydia. Fallopian tube blockages can be detected by laproscopy.
Uterine Factors: Large fibroids may make it difficult for the embryo to arrive and implant into the uterus. The uterus may be too small. These factors can be detected by a gynaecologist in the form of Ultrasound scans. In this case, it is often best to remove the fibroids or shrink them by using surgical techniques.
Infection: Cervical and vaginal infection can cause antibodies to be produced that kill or inhibit the advance of sperm into the uterus and fallopian tubes. In Chinese medicine, these kinds of infections correspond to Damp-Heat pathogens in the system for which there are many effective treatments.
Unexplained Infertility: There may be no clear cause for infertility in some cases. Ovulation occurs normally and tests show that everything is normal. In this case a Chinese medicine diagnosis can be very useful because it employs a different paradigm for describing the form and function of the body, energy and mind of the patient and may therefore be able to produce an effective treatment plan.
The primary aim of the Chinese medicine practitioner is to regulate the menstrual cycle. For this purpose, Basal Body Temperature (BBT) charts are commonly used. Irregularities in the chart such as delayed ovulation, short luteal phase, jagged fluctuations in temperature etc. all provide valuable diagnostic information that informs the practitioner. For nearly every description of a cause of infertility explained in orthodox medicine, there is a Chinese medicine equivalent. There are also diagnostic descriptions that are used in Chinese medicine that have no equivalent in orthodox medicine which can be very useful in treating unexplained infertility. Where a cause has been identified according to the Chinese diagnostic system and using BBT charts, a corresponding treatment plan is introduced and appropriate acupuncture points and herbal medicines are used.
In general, patients are asked to commit to at least three months of treatment. It is common though for treatments to last much longer, sometimes up to 18 months or 2 years. What is clear is that persistence is the key. The patients who stick with the treatment are much more likely to be successful.
When you arrive for your first session, your practitioner will take a detailed case history from you covering all aspects of your health, from childhood illnesses and operations and menstrual history to how your appetite, sleep and state of mind are. He or she will also look at your tongue, take your pulse and palpate your abdomen. This information provides the basis for arriving at a suitable diagnosis and treatment plan for the subsequent acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments. When you come back for follow up appointments your practitioner will note changes in your condition and adapt treatments accordingly.