What to expect

What can I expect on the first visit?
On the first visit a detailed assessment is carried out. All aspects of the person are taken into consideration. Details relating to the condition itself, past and current medical history, lifestyle, current medication, as well as an inspection of the tongue and pulse, are all part of the evaluation leading to a TCM diagnosis.
A treatment, uniquely tailored to the individual, is then given based on this diagnosis. Needles are usually retained for 20 to 30 minutes.
Cupping, electro-acupuncture, auricular-therapy, moxa or TCM dietary guidelines may be included in the treatments as appropriate,.
The first visit can take up to an hour and a half. (Subsequent visits take approximately 1 hour). The entire proceedings are safeguarded by total confidentiality.

Does Acupuncture hurt?
Most patients don’t feel the insertion of the needle into the skin. A few patients may feel a slight pinch, which quickly passes. After insertion a mild, tingling sensation, or a dull ache, or warm sensation may be felt, known as “de qi”. This sensation indicates that the treatment is having effect.
Many patients find the treatment enjoyable and relaxing, some even fall asleep. After treatment patients usually experience increased energy levels and a heightened sense of well-being.

Do I need to undress?
Most treatments do not require the removal of clothes, as many of the major acupoints are located below elbows and knees. However it may be necessary to remove some items of clothing in certain cases, such as with back or shoulder pain, so as to reach the affected area. It is recommended to wear loose clothing.

How many treatments are needed?
The number of treatments will vary depending on the severity and duration of the complaint, as well as the age and general state of health of the patient. Chronic conditions take longer to treat.
The average acupuncture course consists of 10 treatments. Treatments are usually carried out weekly or, in some cases, twice a week. Most patients see an improvement in their condition after 3 to 6 treatments. Some patients can see a noticeable improvement after the first couple of treatments.
Treatments are usually given once a week, or in some cases twice a week. As the condition improves, the interval between treatments is gradually spaced out.
After completing a course of treatments some patients, in particular those with chronic conditions, benefit from follow-up maintenance once every couple of months or so. Other patients come for preventative maintenance a couple of times a year to keep their body in blance.

Are there any contraindications?
Acupuncture is used with caution for patients on Warfarin or any other anti-coagulants.
Also, you must notify your practitioner if you
are pregnant (some acupoints are contra-indicated in pregnancy) suffer from a condition transmissible by blood (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis) have a pacemaker
If you are a blood donor, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) stipulates that you cannot donate blood if you have had acupuncture treatment within the previous six months (unless the treatment was administered by a GP).

What about Health Insurance?
Acupuncture treatments at Harbour Clinic are approved by VHI, LAYA, Hibernian & HSF as well as the ESB and Garda Medical Schemes.

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