A professional acupuncturist will behave towards you in the same way as any other health professional. Absolute discretion is assured as patient confidentiality is no different for an Acupuncturist than it is for your G.P.

When you arrive you will need to explain your problem and there will be some searching questions to answer. Many acupuncturists will also wish to conduct a pulse and tongue analysis. I find it rare to need to do this since the pulse and tongue are really herbal medicine diagnostic tools.

Generally speaking, I will not need to needle you anywhere other than from the elbow to the hand and the knee to the foot. When you wear clothes that facilitate access to the knees and the elbows, clothing need not be removed.

Needles are inserted in areas that correspond to the area that is “sick” has pain or dysfunction. I do not insert needles in the “sick” area. You should sense an immediate improvement, particularly in the problems that involve physical pain or discomfort.

Other illnesses that are emotional in nature are likely to become “lighter” and /or disappear. These problems are unlikely to change whilst you are in the treatment rooms.

Patients have said that the relief for emotional problems just seems to creep up on you unexpectedly.

It is very important that you communicate with me at all times, keeping me informed as to the sensations and changes you are experiencing.

How Does it Work?

Specifically, the mechanism of Acupuncture remains unknown but we can speculate based on actual and repeated experiences and what is known about anatomy and physiology

The ancient model discusses the manipulation of Qi that flows through the body in the meridian system. The Chinese Medicine pathology model is written in terms and language which bears no relationship to the age in which we live and the solid understanding we now have about the body.

There are some things it is worth understanding about the body. For example, how we derive pain. I suggest you watch the videos attached to the links below which will explain the pain mechanism from a humorous perspective.

It is clear that pain is a defence mechanism. But, the interesting thing is that it functions independently of us. The sub-conscious brain constantly assesses what is happening to us and around us and creates a contextual insight about whether something that is present or is happening is threatening to us.

Listen to what Professor Peter O Sullivan says about how much back pain is actually due to some pathological process in the back.

These are not acupuncture assertions, they are up to date insights from western medicine practitioners.

In my practice, every week i see people with really deteriorated knees according to historic scans. But they have no pain and function really well.

Other people present with scans and reports that say there is very little wrong their knee(s). However, they suffer excruciating pain associated with their knees. How can this be?

The differentiating factor is their lives and their own subconscious brain’s assessment of that life and any perceived threats within it. Here it becomes even more complicated. What might not be a threat to you and me can pose the most enormous threat to someone else. Their brain’s sub-conscious perception about what constitutes a threat is partly governed by how the individual has been raised (trained) by their respective family, especially between the ages of 0 – 5 years.

Then you have to throw genetics into the mix which can pre-dispose people to certain situations and problems.

Here I have highlighted pain and attempted to illustrate that it does not necessarily bear a direct relationship to the structure of our bodies. Indeed, other conditions which normally have no pathology, such as Tinnitus, perhaps it should more accurately be considered “pain” in the hearing function. After all the brain is undoubtedly inventing the condition just as it does in the case of pain in relation to damage and wounds, actual and perceived.

Another very good example of the brain inventing pain is Phantom Limb Syndrome. The limb doesn’t exist but there still appears to be pain. This is because the area of the brain that controls the missing limb is still there.

So why does acupuncture work? Like I said at the beginning of this section, we don’t really know. But, what I see every day is that by considering the homuncular map of the brain (see below), I have a better insight as to why all the acupuncture textbooks suggest points on the ankle and the toes are good for genital problems.

When the acupuncture needle is inserted, the actual insertion is almost without sensation due to the incredibly thin size of the needle. But after the needle is inserted and agitated, a peculiar sensation is induced. It can be similar to an electric sensation, or a minor, spreading dull ache or both.

But the important thing is that you cannot receive that sensation unless there is a communication between the site of the needle and your brain. I believe it is at this moment that your brain is prompted to change its own state. That change produces a reduction/elimination of pain and restoration of function.

Does it always work – unequivocally no! Experience has shown me that positive changes might be anticipated in 95% of cases but I have no randomised, double blind trial evidence to support this number.

We just have to try!

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