Self-help to get the best out of your acupuncturist


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So! You're planning to visit an acupuncturist? First, do some Self-Help!

Think about your problem and try to marshal your thoughts about it. A little forethought goes a long way.

The following might help jog your thoughts - but they don't cover everything ...

What is the feeling or discomfort or pain like?

  • What sort of pain (problem) is it? If it's a pain, how can you describe it better than just a 'pain'?
  • Think of all the different kinds of pain there are: boring, bruised, burning, burrowing, bursting, contracting, constricting, cord-like, cramping, crushing, cutting ….etc.!
  • Which matches the pain you experience?
  • Is the pain different in different places, or under different circumstances?
  • Where does it hurt?
  • Where does the pain come from, or go to? In other words, where else do you feel it?
  • What causes the pain?
  • What makes the pain or problem worse and what makes it better? For example, is it better (or worse) for warmth, being outside, being massaged gently, rest, air that is fresh, or warm, or cold, inside or outside…etc? What else makes it different? For instance, does the time of day, or the weather make a difference?

Clear answers to these questions could make an enormous difference to the diagnosis your acupuncturist reaches. And you may find that the answers even help you "self-help" the pain away.

What circumstances, (eg the weather, the time of day, what you are doing, who you are with, what you have been thinking or talking about, what you have been feeling, after or before food/drink, menses, Monday morning, Friday evening…. etc) seem to correlate with the onset or duration of the pain?


  • When you have the pain, how does that affect what you feel like doing?
  • What else hurts or bothers you when you are in pain?
  • Is there any unpleasant sensation you feel when you don't have the pain: what alternates with the pain?
  • After having the pain for a while, what happens - to it, and to you?
  • What do you want to do when in pain?
  • How does it affect your appetite, sleep, digestion, bowels, urination, circulation and so on?
  • When did it start?

What were the circumstances surrounding the original onset?

Is there any other kind of discomfort that you have?

  • What other illnesses or problems have you had, recently and in the past?
  • What medication do you take? What supplements?
  • Is there anything you have learned to do, (eg special exercises or diet habits), but for which the pain, or another pain, would occur, or be worse?
  • What other treatments or interventions have you had that have been effective, ineffective, or partially effective, or after which things changed for the worse or the better?
  • Who else that you know, or are related to, who has had something similar?
  • What about the health of your brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents? If any of these have died, what was their health like during their lives, and what caused death?

Self-help can pinpoint answers that only you know, and to your acupuncturist they can make an enormous difference!

Done the Self-Help? Ready now for an Acupuncturist?

The other question is what kind of acupuncturist to consult. Think in the way you would if consulting any professional, such as a lawyer, architect or private doctor. You would probably prefer someone well-qualified, with experience and preferably with a good track record.

Of course, since you'll be discussing very personal matters, you'll want someone you can trust. If you know of someone that a friend has visited, with good results, that might be a good place to start.

All members of the British Acupuncture Council have spent many years in training, with good clinical supervision. Members maintain their standards through regular CPD - Continuing Professional Development - and they are all fully insured.

If you live in the Edinburgh area of Scotland, where the author of this site and of the book described below works, click on Edinburgh Acupuncturist. Otherwise, click on BAcC.


3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!

By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.

For the Latest Reviews of 'Qi Stagnation', click here!

NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.



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