Your First Visit
What will happen on my first visit and what can I expect?
Your first consultation will normally last one to one and a half hours and will include a thorough and in-depth evaluation and diagnosis, followed by your first full treatment. The diagnosis will undertaken by way of the four methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) , followed by an evaluation of any relevant western diagnoses, records or information and a physical examination when and if it is deemed appropriate.
1. Questioning or Enquiry*
The first diagnostic method will be undertaken though the process of questioning or enquiry and will involve an evaluation of your primary disharmony or concern, as well as an overall assessment of health and function in body and mind. This process is developed through the approximately twelve areas of defined questioning and will be adapted according to your and circumstances and needs. Whilst questioning may be quite comprehensive, priority will be given to those questions that relate to your given circumstances.
*(Traditionally called Interrogation but I feel this term is somewhat severe).
Diagnosis will also be developed through the process of observation. This will initially take place through an evaluation of your face and body, including shape, demeanour, posture and colour, and more specifically, an inspection of your tongue. Sometimes this process will be obvious, for example when using tongue diagnosis, whilst at other times, I will be making unobtrusive observations whilst other evaluations are underway. Patients are asked not wear make-up at least on their first visit.
The third and perhaps most famous of the diagnostic methods is palpation; in which I will evaluate the relative strength, rate and depth of the radial pulse on each wrist, and in some cases on other areas of the body. I may also palpate areas of the body to assess tenderness at acupuncture points, and also the quality of pain and relative temperatures of different parts of the body.
4. Hearing and Smelling
Finally the last diagnostic method is hearing and smelling; the former perhaps being more significant in modern practice. As with observation, I may in the midst of other investigations listen to the quality of your voice; its volume and relative strength and I might also listen to underlying tone. In so doing I will be attempting to correlate this qualities with other presenting information.
Please go to the Document Downloads page and under the section 'For prospective patients' download the Patient Questionnaire, along with other relevant PDF documents, for use prior to your first visit.
Your first treatment
At the end of this first consultation I will inform you on the primary diagnosis according to TCM and try to provide an intelligible interpretation of its meaning. In turn, I will suggest the best route for addressing your particular problem and where possible, how long it will take before results are achieved. Whilst my primary discipline is acupuncture but I may also suggest a course of Tui Na massage and or, a course of Chinese patent herbal medicine to complement the acupuncture or massage. Patients may of course wish to utilise only one of these, although they are advised that herbs can only be administered in conjunction with acupuncture. Tui Na can be undertaken with or without acupuncture.
Acupuncture will normally be undertaken slowly and gently, and in consideration that there may be some patients who will be experiencing fear and apprehension. A combination of points will be used according to the most pressing pattern or symptom, with other combinations added when and if a patient feels sufficiently confident. The needles will be retained for approximately 10 to 25 minutes, although in some instances they may be in for longer. In younger children the needles are not retained. In some instances the session will start or finish with Tui Na but this will depend on your condition, time available and the expectation and requests that you might make. Please be advised that when Tui Na is combined with acupuncture then more time will be allocated to subsequent appointments and will be subject to an additional fee.
Arrival and Departure
Prospective patients are advised that they should consider arriving at the clinic at least ten minutes before the start of their appointment, to ensure that that can gain the benefit five minutes rest and quiet. Not only will this support their acupuncture treatment, but also allow for a more representative pulse diagnosis to take place. Similarly patients should also consider taking time to rest in the waiting area before leaving the clinic, thereby securing greater opportunity for acupuncture to establish it's benefits and ensuring that they can acclimatise before returning to a busy world.
For further information regarding your first and subsequent treatment sessions and a more in depth discussion on what to expect from outcomes and your prognoses, please download the full Your first Visit PDF document.