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If this is your first experience of Chinese medicine, acupuncture or some other 'alternative' therapy, I know you may be a little apprehensive! The ideas used in Chinese medicine are very different from the Western medicine you are used to, and the way disease is treated is quite different too.
After completing a registration form which gives me your name, address and so on, I shall ask you to tell me all about your reasons for coming, the nature of the pain or problem(s) you have, its background and the background of your health.
As you talk I am deciding what sort of energy you have, because if I can gauge this I can work out how to treat you more effectively.
Usually I would explain my thinking to you and give you some idea of the likely prognosis, and of how many treatments you will probably need before you can expect some improvement.
I need to know what other treatments you have had or are having, and I do need to know what medication(s), health enhancing substances, vitamins, minerals, protein drinks or other supplements you are taking in addition to food.
Although I do not insist, I prefer it if your own doctor knows that you are receiving treatment from me.
Life being what it is, people often visit me when they have tried many other treatments.
Whilst they have been looking for a cure, their health may have diminished and their disease may perhaps have become more chronic. Whereas one treatment might have 'cured' the problem some years before, it now requires a series of treatments.
This means that some people need only a few treatments (sometimes just one!), others need ten, twenty or more.
Once better, many people return for a 'top-up' consultation and treatment from time to time.
If you receive acupuncture, you may find that you feel pleasantly relaxed, or a little tired after the first treatment. If this happens, I suggest you try to take a rest. And go to bed early if you can.
On the day of your consultation or treatment, I suggest you take no coffee, strong stimulants, or alcohol.
Immediately before or after treatment please do not eat a large meal and do not take any very vigorous exercise.
If you are taking prescribed or self-prescribed drugs, do not stop taking them! Please discuss them with me at each consultation or treatment session before you make changes. This is another reason why I prefer that your doctor knows you are visiting me. If your medication is to change, I prefer that he takes that decision.
However, if you are on medication and unhappy about telling your own doctor, please consider getting a second opinion from a qualified medical practitioner before changing the medication that you take.
At the first consultation I may also want to do a physical examination to help me decide what needs to be done. For example, I may need to palpate your back or abdomen, or to look at and assess the quality of painful areas.
I may need to take your blood pressure, and I shall almost certainly wish to take your 'pulse' the Chinese way, and to look at your tongue. Do not be surprised!
The Notes I take and your Privacy
All the information you give me and my notes about you and your treatments are kept in complete confidence. I show them to nobody else without your permission.
I keep your notes indefinitely, although if you have not been to see me for a few years they are locked away in a remote 'safe' location and finding them can take time, for which I may make a charge if you want a copy. I charge for the time taken to find them as well as the cost of copying them.
By law I am required to keep the notes of children I have treated until they are 21, or for 7 years, whichever period of time is greater.
Before commencing treatment, if at the consultation you have given me your permission to treat you, a treatment is recommended and there is time for it, I shall ask you to complete several forms giving me permission to treat you, acknowledging your health history and medications and giving you information about how to contact me.
These forms are now necessary under the conditions of my professional indemnity insurance with the British Acupuncture Council.
Concerning acupuncture treatment: whilst I sometimes need to insert needles only in your ears, most acupuncture treatments use points on your back or front or legs or arms, and I may ask you to take off some clothes so that I can do this.
I have a comfortable couch in a warm room and many people go to sleep during the treatment!
After the initial consultation and/or treatment I may be able to give you an estimate of how often and how many more sessions you'll need. This estimate is based on what I then know, but I may change it depending on how your health progresses.
Sometimes I need to see you several times in a week. More often, treatment with acupuncture occurs weekly, spacing it out with greater intervals as you get better. For those who are seeking acupuncture to assist in drug withdrawal, more frequent treatment may be necessary.
Usually, allow up to one hour, although the actual treatment itself often takes no more than 30 minutes.
However, by the time you have got ready on the bed, we have talked about your progress, I have taken your pulse the Chinese way, looked at your tongue and done the acupuncture treatment, at least 30 minutes will have elapsed, often getting on for one hour.
How long should you park your car for?
For a first appointment - the initial consultation, allow at least 2 hours, although we may not need as long as that.
For subsequent appointments - treatments - allow at least one hour although, as explained, in fact the treatment often takes no more than 30 minutes.
I hope you will find your treatment beneficial and enjoyable, but if you are unhappy about it, the procedure is first to tell me about it.
If you are not satisfied with what I do or say to put things right, then you should contact the British Acupuncture Council. Telephone 020 8735 0400, at 63 Jeddo Road, London W12 9HQ.
If you find it difficult to ring me, but would like to speak to me briefly about coming to see me in Edinburgh, Scotland, complete the form below with your telephone number. Please be sure to say why you are contacting me. Don't just give me your number!
However, if you live outside the United Kingdom, I may contact you first to arrange a time for you to ring me. (Why? Otherwise I might incur huge telephone bills ringing people all round the world!)
If you would like to speak to me at length, whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, click here for details.
If before making an appointment to see me you would first like to contact me online rather than by telephone, complete the enquiry form below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
All the books in the 'Chinese Medicine in English' series should be fully accessible on Kindles and Kindle apps. (Or you can buy the softback print editions, of course.)
('Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine' published 1986, was never available in a Kindle version.)
If, having read one of my books you can write a review - preferably positive - that would help others decide whether to read it.
You can put your review on Amazon or, on this site, here.
And if you think it was terrible?
Well, let me know so I can improve it for the next person. (Ideally let me know before cursing it in public!)
Here are some of the books I (Jonathan) have written.
Subscribers to Kindle Unlimited can borrow the first four for 'free'.
Published 1986 and, amazingly, still selling. Was apparently used back then by at least one acupuncture college to help students understand Chinese medicine!
Three Reviews so far. (Despite the lurid cover, it explains the five main types of phlegm and what works best for each type. I hope it's easy to read and will be much more useful than all the websites on the subject.)
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.
NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.
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