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A Typical Appointment…

I am regularly asked what is involved in an acupuncture appointment, so I thought I’d walk through what a typical appointment is like. At present all appointments are taking place in the back room of the clinic, in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare. Patients arriving enter the treatment room directly through the side entrance. Before the patient arrives, the plinth and all touched surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned. I’m using Milton as the sterilizing agent, it’s been trusted for generations and I can be confident that it is effective. Upon entering the clinic, the patient is directed to the treatment plinth and a sterile box is available for personal belongings. There are a few forms for the patient to complete before the appointment can begin – covid questionnaire, consent to treatment and GDPR preferences. After taking personal details, the diagnosis begins. After listening to the patient explain his/her issues, I ask a series of questions which help uncover any underlying syndrome from the Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective. Commonly, this is a deficiency of one or more of the elements that form the basis of TCM, although in some cases an excess condition like dampness, heat or stagnation exist. The final parts of the diagnosis are examination of the tongue (I wear a face shield and mask while the patient briefly removes his/her face mask and sticks out their tongue) and palpitation of the pulses. With the diagnosis complete, the overall picture of the patient’s being can be understood and from this understanding the best treatment plan is determined. The treatment itself usually lasts about 30 to 40 minutes. The position of the patient lying on the plinth is determined by how the patient will be most comfortable and what points I want to use. I usually have two elements to the selection of points. Some points are to address the underlying imbalances and a second set it to treat the patients issue directly. The needles themselves are extremely thin, polished stainless steel which are designed to be painless. Once all the needles are in place, the patient just relaxes to the end of the treatment. It’s very common and perfectly ok for patients to snooze during the treatment. Depending on the diagnosis I might use a heat lamp, warming needle technique, moxibustion or cupping. Once all the needles are removed and the treatment is ended, I let the patient know that they can get up, but not to rush! Patients commonly report feeling very relaxed, energised, rejuvenated or revived after the treatment. Jumping up from the plinth too quickly can cause dizziness or light headedness for a few minutes so I try and get patients to take their time. I leave plenty of time between patients for cleaning and airing the room so there is no panic. Most patients will feel different after the treatment. Some can feel an instant change in their condition, where as others notice the change over the following days. Patients usually report a having had reduction in symptoms when they arrive for their next appointment, and the effect usually increases in effectiveness and duration with each treatment. Most patients will attend weekly or biweekly appointments for about 5 appointments before stretching out the time between appointments to fortnightly or monthly. This way there will have been significant work on any underlying condition and any issues should have been greatly reduced or eliminated. If this article raises any questions, or if I can be of any help please feel free to get in touch here, by calling 0864059898 or by emailing

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