What to expect
If I have not treated you before, our first session will be 90 minutes rather than the 60 minutes for any subsequent appointments. During this we will examine your current situation as well as your medical history. Diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine is usually formed from a series of questions combined with an examination of your tongue, pulse and symptoms. I'll then outline my recommendations for your treatment. These may include various combinations of the modalities explained below. I'll always make sure you understand the proposed treatment and that you are comfortable before proceeding.
Acupuncture is performed by inserting very fine needles into specific points on the body to facilitate the movement of qi (pronounced 'chi') or energy. Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that the correct flow of qi in channels ('meridians') throughout our bodies is necessary for optimum health. The disruption or stagnation of qi flow can manifest as a wide range of ailments or illness.
As an acupuncturist, I prefer using a gentle needling technique with high quality 'patient-friendly' needles, designed to provide the best possible patient experience. All needles are disposable and used only once. Various sensations such as tingling, warmth and heaviness around needle points is expected and common. Once the needles are placed they will remain for around twenty - thirty minutes before being removed. Treatment is typically administered with the patient lying either face down or on their back on the treatment table, common needling sites include arms, lower legs, stomach and back.
Gua Sha is a technique used to help relieve muscular tension, promote circulation and blood flow. It is often used to aid in the treatment of colds in the early stages of illness. The treatment takes the form of repeated strokes across the skin with a 'gua sha comb', a smooth-edged tool. I use natural oils during the treatment to maximize results and comfort. Although Gua Sha can leave bruise-like marks on the skin (which should disappear completely within a week), it is a relaxing technique and I have found that patients find the experience enjoyable and often request it in later sessions.
Cupping provides tension relief for sore and achy muscles by promotes circulation and blood flow to targeted areas. It consists of removing the air from the cups (I use both glass and plastic cups in my practice) and placing them on the skin to create a suction effect. This suction or type of 'inverted' massage is a wonderful tool to promote healing and relaxation. Cupping can leave bruise-like circular marks on the skin (which should disappear in less than one week), however it is usually found to be an extremely relaxing and beneficial treatment.
Tui Na & Reiki
Tui Na is a therapeutic Chinese massage that I may incorporate into treatments. It consists of many techniques suggest as kneading, tapping, pulling, rolling, pressing and shaking, and resembles other types of massage in many ways.
Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that can promote a deep sense of relaxation. I am certified in Usui Reiki Levels 1 and 2. Reiki is a hands-on or hands-off therapy in which I will intend to promote a sense of well-being within the patient. I will offer to incorporate Reiki in treatments when appropriate and only when the patient desires this form of therapy.