Before explaining the different treatments that I offer it is important to note that any treatment is aimed at the root of your condition as well as your main symptoms. This approach helps with resolving your problem and enhancing your feeling of wellbeing. You may notice other niggling problems resolve as your main health complaint improves.
Prior to giving any treatment, it is necessary to form a diagnosis of the patient’s symptoms, from a Chinese medicine point of view. The initial consultation typically takes about 20
to 30 minutes. During this time the diagnostic methods described below are used.
The client is asked about their medical history and the history, nature and location of their symptoms, as well as questions about their general health and specific questions relating to Chinese medicine. The client can also ask as many questions as they like!
The various characteristics of the client are observed, including facial features, the quality of the complexion, skin generally, nails, hair etc, their posture and demeanour. The tongue will also be observed as it provides a wealth of information about the current internal state of the body. Please do not brush or clean your tongue before visiting a Chinese medicine practitioner and remember to not suck any brightly coloured sweets as these discolour the
The quality of the voice is listened to. A client may sigh excessively or it may be possible to hear their digestive organs gurgling. All of this may provide valuable information to aid in making a diagnosis.
The muscle tone may be felt or acupuncture points may be pressed in order to determine any patterns of tenderness. The pulse is felt on both wrists. This can provide important information as to the state of the internal organs.
Is there anything your practitioner needs to know?
Apart from the usual medical details, it is important that you let your practitioner
- if you have ever experienced a fit, faint or funny turn
- if you have a pacemaker, or any other electrical implants
- if you have a bleeding disorder
- if you are taking anti-coagulants or any other medication
- if you have damaged heart valves or have any particular risk of infection.
- If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
- If you have any skin infections
- If you have had any joints replaced
- If you have any serious illnesses and or surgery in the last 12 months
The diagnosis will be explained to the client and a treatment plan will be agreed. The planned treatment, whether acupuncture, tuina Chinese massage, or a combination of these and other treatments, is then explained to the client. Please note charges are based on my time and not for the different treatments. The initial consultation and treatment usually takes about one hour.
Now to the treatments:-
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture works to help maintain your body’s equilibrium. It involves the insertion of
very fine needles into specific points on the body to regulate the flow of ‘qi’, your body’s vital energy. For a number of lifestyle and environmental reasons, qi can become disturbed, depleted or blocked, which can result in some symptoms of pain and illness or. In certain instances, traditional acupuncture can be an effective therapy to help restore balance and promote physical and emotional harmony. Acupuncture is nothing like having an injection! The needles are much finer and flexible. The single-use sterile needles come in sealed packs: they should be opened in front of you and are safely disposed of after each treatment.
Does acupuncture have side-effects?
You need to be aware that:
- drowsiness occurs after treatment in a small number of patients, and, if affected, you are advised not to drive
- minor bleeding or bruising occurs after treatment in about 3% of treatments
- pain during treatment occurs in about 1% of treatments
- existing symptoms can get worse after treatment (less than 3% of patients). You should tell your acupuncturist about this, but it is usually a good sign.
In 2009 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended that acupuncture should be made available on the NHS, as a cost-effective short-term
treatment for the management of early, persistent non-specific lower back pain.
You can get more information on current scientific research into the effectiveness of acupuncture from the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) or by speaking to a BAcC registered acupuncturist.
It is essential for people to choose an acupuncturist who is registered with a professional body. British Acupuncture Council members have extensive undergraduate degree level training in acupuncture and biomedical sciences appropriate to the practice of acupuncture in the UK. They are bound by strict codes of ethics, and safe practice and professional conduct. With over 3,000 members the British Acupuncture Council is the UK’s largest regulatory body for practitioners of traditional acupuncture. The Council maintains high standards of education, ethics, discipline, and practice. Their aim is to ensure the health and safety of the public at all times.
When you choose to visit a BAcC member you can be sure of:
- extensive training (minimum three years degree level), including anatomy, physiology, and other appropriate elements of western medicine
- adherence to the Council’s Codes of Safe Practice and Professional Conduct
- compliance with current health and safety legislation
- full medical malpractice and public/products liability insurance cover
- up-to-date practice skills maintained by mandatory continuing professional development.
What is tuina?
Tuina (推拏 or 推拿, both pronounced tūi ná and sounds like ‘tweeh –nah) Tuina is Chinese for “pushing and pulling” and is one of the four main branches of traditional Chinese medicine, its sister therapies are Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and Qi
Gong. Tuina is a very popular form of treatment in China and it is not unusual to see people queuing in long lines outside the tuina departments in hospital. In China there are not physiotherapy departments in hospitals there are tuina departments.
Tuina uses, massage and manipulation in conjunction with the stimulation of acupressure points. Tuina differs from other forms of massage in that it is used to treat illnesses of an
internal nature as well as both acute or chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
Acupressure, the practice of applying finger pressure to specific acupoints throughout the body, was used in China as early as 2000 B.C., pre-dating the practice of acupuncture. Acupressure is widely practiced both professionally and informally throughout Asia for relaxation, for the promotion of wellness and for the treatment of disease. These techniques are growing in popularity in North America and Europe. Numerous trials in humans suggest the effectiveness of wrist-point (known as the P6 acupoint) acupressure for treating nausea; this is the most studied use of acupressure.
Acupressure aims to restore normal flow of life energy by means of finger pressure, palm pressure, stretching, massage and other techniques. There are 12 primary channels and eight additional pathways that circulate life energy through the body, maintaining the balance of yin and yang.
It is suggested that acupressure may reduce muscle pain and tension, improve blood circulation and release endorphins (a type of hormone). As an acupressure point is pressed, muscle tension is thought to yield to the pressure, enabling muscle fibers to elongate and relax, allowing blood to flow more freely and toxins to be released and eliminated.
Acupressure is related in some ways to acupuncture. Tuina is said to be acupuncture without the needles and is a great treatment for those people who are scared of needles.
Unless using a massage ointment tui na is generally applied through clothes. I sometimes use a small cotton sheet to put over clients clothes to provide a smooth surface to work on. I find working over a cotton T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms ideal. Tui na can treat babies, children and adults of all ages. It can be both vigorous and gentle, both sedating and stimulating.
From my first experience of tuina as a client, through my training and to the present day I have never ceased to be amazed at the wonder of tuina , it is a beautiful, versatile, healing art providing me with both mental stimulation and hands-on physical work. Usually
my 60 minute treatments involve using both acupuncture and tuina or solely tuina.
What is cupping therapy?
Cupping is an ancient Chinese method used to regulate the flow of Qi and Blood. A partial
vacuum is created in cups placed on the skin either by means of heat or suction. This draws up the underlying tissues. When the cup is left in place on the skin for a few minutes, blood stasis is formed and localized healing takes place.
Cupping therapy opens the ‘Meridians’ of the body. Meridians are the channels in the body through which energy (Qi) flows to every part of the body and through every organ and tissue. Cupping helps to eliminate pathogenic factors such as Cold, Damp and Heat. Cupping moves the Qi and Blood thus, helping circulation, removing pain and releasing stiff muscles. It is a very good deep tissue massage.
Cupping is performed on the skin. Most cupping techniques have a mild and tolerable
pulling action on the skin. Massage cream is often applied prior to cupping.
Treatment usually begins with massage, using a cream and the cupping therapy is
followed by massage. The cups are usually in place between 15 to 20 minutes sometimes less depending on the condition being treated.
You can expect a slight reddening or ring mark where the cups have been, especially following the first treatment. You should experience a warm, pulling or stretching
sensation on the skin but not pain. The marks usually disappear within 7 to 10 days.
I use pistol handle valve cups that are made of hard plastic. I prefer this cupping system largely due to the safety aspect as no fire is required to make a vacuum. The cups are
sterilised with a sterilising fluid then washed in soapy water following each treatment.
What is moxibustion or heat therapy?
Moxibustion (heat therapy) can be used in combination with acupuncture or as a stand-alone treatment. It treats disorders by applying heat at specific areas (usually acupuncture points) on the body. The heat generated is Yang Qi and activates the flow of Qi in the channels, warms and nourishes the Qi and blood and moves any cold that is trapped in the body. In my clinic I have to use smokeless moxibustion sticks and this is called indirect
moxibustion. Moxibustion or moxa sticks contain the mugwort plant, Artemisia Vulgaris. The stick is lit and held gently over the skin or over a needle that has been inserted into an
acupuncture point. The heat from the moxa stick is transferred into the needle and goes deep into the body. Moxibustion is very relaxing and soothing.
I also use a TDP lamp or TDP mineral lamp. TDP is an acronym for “Teding Diancibo
Pu” which loosely translated means special electromagnetic spectrum. The TDP mineral lamp was invented in China in the 1970’s and is a medical infrared heating device. The premise of the lamp is that the far infrared (below visible light) emissions increases microcirculation and loosens fascia to accelerate the natural healing processes of the body.
The TDP lamp is used as a therapeutic substitute for moxibustion.
What is electro-acupuncture?
Electro-acupuncture applies as small electrical current to inserted acupuncture needles. A battery operated machine is used! This treatment was developed in China in the 1930’s
and it is aimed at providing constant stimulation to the needle. It is similar to a TENS machine (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator). TENS machines deliver small electrical pulses to the body via electrodes placed on the skin. Both are used to help ease pain.
What are micro-acupuncture systems?
Acupuncturists often use micro-acupuncture systems, for example the hand (KHT), the ear (auricular acupuncture), the scalp and the foot. A micro-acupuncture system is
one in which the entire body is represented over a small portion of skin such as the hand or ear. Below I have explained the two micro-acupuncture systems I tend to use most frequently. Often I will use a mixture of body and micro-acupuncture.
What is Korean Hand Therapy (KHT)?
KHT is also called Koryo Hand Therapy, Koryon Sooji Chim, or Soojichim. It is one of many micro-acupuncture systems used. A micro-acupuncture system is where the hands
are seen as a microcosm of the body and the functions of the body can thus be manipulated by stimulating corresponding points on the hands. The palmar side
of the hands corresponds to the front of the body and the dorsal side of the hands to the back of the body. There are 14 micro-meridians that correspond to the 14 body meridians/channels and 345 acupuncture points. The same underlying theories of Chinese medicine are used to diagnose and determine a treatment plan.
The acupuncture points are stimulated by either inserting very fine needle using an
automatic needle inserter, or press pellets and or small smokeless moxa cones.
Further details of training and supplies can be found at http://www.acurea.co.uk/.
KHT was developed by the Korean acupuncturist Dr. Tae Woo Yoo between 1971 and 1975. Dr. Tae Woo Yoo’s website is http://www.soojichim.com/ .
What is auricular (ear) acupuncture?
In Oriental medical literature the role of the ear as an instrument of diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and treatment of disease go back to some of the earliest Chinese texts. However, it was not until 1957 that the French acupuncturist Nogier formalised the system of auricular (ear) acupuncture. Again the acupuncture points are stimulated using either a small needle (inserted by hand) or I use tourmaline stones on small plasters which can be left in place to stimulate the points. The most recognised use of auricular acupuncture is the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol consisting of the insertion of five, small, fine, sterile needles under the surface of the skin on specific sites in the outer ear. These five points are standard points for the treatment of substance misuse and anxiety management.
Acupuncture treatment for substance misuse has shown to be clinically effective, cost
efficient, drug free and compatible across cultures. As part of my treatment plan I use the NADA protocol when helping people to stop smoking. The NADA protocol is very useful for other conditions as well.
The NADA protocol has been shown to decrease significantly:
- Craving for alcohol and drugs withdrawal symptoms
- Inpatient detoxification admissions
- Anxiety, insomnia and agitation
For further information see http://www.nadauk.com/
What is Emotional Freedom Technique?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) brings together the principles of Chinese medicine, neuroscience and cognitive-behavioural therapy by combining stimulation of a series of acupressure points with words, to bring about a shift in thought patterns and relieve physical tension and excess negative emotions. “Acupuncture without needles” or “tapping therapy” EFT can be used 1:1 with a therapist, in a group setting or as a self-help tool.