What to Expect

Your first consultation may take up to an hour. To get the most benefit it is important for me to get the right information.

I need to know, not only, about your presenting problem but also its history how it effects your life and also your general state of health. This may include asking in-depth questions about your medical history, including family background, lifestyle and diet.

If you are coming for a sore back I may ask about your digestion, your sleep, and your mood. We need to know what resources are available in the body, to know what we have to work with. Often treating a young vital person for a problem will be a bit different than treating an older person with a similar issue.

The goal is to go way beyond symptom management and to address the root of the problem. To do this we need to understand the big picture.

Below you will find the process I take before treating patients, if you have any questions please contact me.

You stick out your tongue, A poke & prod

You stick out your tongue

Using careful observation, I will ask you to stick out your tongue so that I can evaluate its size, colour and coating.

A poke & prod

I will carefully examine the pulse at different points on your body.  I may palpate the texture of your muscles, the temperature of your skin and observe the different colours.   With all this information then we can decide our starting point of treatment and work out a treatment plan that addresses your complaint and any underlying imbalance.

Prior to treatment you will be asked to sign a consent form.  If I don’t believe that I can help you, I will tell you. I won’t waste your money or time unless my clinical experience leads me to believe that I can help.   It is impossible to know for sure who will be helped by acupuncture and often the only way of knowing is in the doing but we will formulate a plan that you are happy with.  Your plan is constantly assessed…to check things are improving or moving in the right direction.

I will give you an approximation of how many treatments you are likely to require before seeing results.  In general, the longer you have had the condition, the longer it might take to improve.  Treatments frequency varies depending on the impact of the problem on your life.  The more pain you are in the more frequently you need treatment.  Once the pain has eased then treatment intervals can stretch out.

Acupuncture works cumulatively; each treatment builds on the next so you do have to give it time to work.

I will tell you if I think that you could benefits from different things.  If I think you could benefit from another type of therapy in addition to acupuncture or alternatively, then I will let you know.  My goal is to help you get better.


It's time to get to work & How much treatment will I need

It’s time to get to work! 

Generally people lie on a massage table, occasionally they sit, and if any clothing needs to be removed it is always minimal and discrete.  

Acupuncture needles, when inserted, can feel something like a mosquito bite or a small pinch. Most often they are not felt at all.  It is a misconception that acupuncture is painful or needs to be painful to have an effect.  At times a mild sensation of aching, numbness, or tingling may be felt after the needle is inserted to gain a specific therapeutic effect but by and large the needles are not felt and patients feel peaceful, calm and relaxed or energised.

After a treatment you may feel a bit tired, so it may be best to avoid anything to vigorous for a couple of hours after treatment. 

Everyone responds differently - some people notice an immediate change after their very first treatment but this is not necessarily typical. With chronic or severe problems, it may take several acupuncture sessions to see results. It’s a bit like pushing a car - depending on the weight of the car, or if its on the flat or facing uphill, the amount of energy required to get it riolling will vary.  Once we get things moving then the frequency of treatment willbe less. 

What is important is that you don’t do it just once and expect a lasting change. That’s not to say you have to continue it forever. The relationship that we have with our environment is dynamic and a healthy person is able to adapt. Chinese Medicine is helps to strengthen the body's ability to adapt and return to health.  

How much treatment will I need, for how long and how many?

One of the most common questions is ‘how much treatment will I need?’ Unfortunately this can also be the most difficult to answer.  People respond differently for a variety of reasons from the severity of the complaint, age, general health and simply because some people respond faster than others. What I can say is that ‘you’ will never be pressured to continue to come more frequently than is necessary.  

“My aim is to get people better in the shortest time and with the least intervention as possible.”

As a guide we would normally expect to see some positive changes occurring within 4-6 treatments.  This does not mean that your symptoms are gone but within this period you should see enough change to get some idea that the treatment is heading in the right direction.

Things to look for could be your symptoms are less intense or severe, perhaps occurring less frequently. Maybe your overall energy or sleep has improved. Maybe you feel better in yourself or are having more good days than bad days. All or any of these things mean that we are heading in the right direction. This may also mean that you can come less frequently as improvement continues.

All of these things we will discuss in your plan for treatment and throughout your consultations.

Getting the best results, Is it safe? & Will my GP be informed?

Getting the best results

The people who get the best results from acupuncture are the ones who are willing to participate in the process. It’s your body that heals you - acupuncture only facilitates, starts and opens the process so this can start. If you are looking after yourself - diet, rest and doing any prescribed exercises then you’ll improve faster.

If you come to me expecting to be fixed without any effort on your part you are going to be disappointed. I may make recommendations for changes to your diet and/or lifestyle but they will be practical, realistic and gentle. I make recommendations so you can get the most from acupuncture.

Is it safe?

All NZ registered acupuncturists have met certain educational requirements and observe a strict code of practice which governs their standard of care and level of conduct. All needles used are sterile and disposable. Patients receiving acupuncture are still eligible to donate blood.

Will my GP be informed?

Yes, unless you advise us that you would rather we did not. We believe in and encourage communication between health professionals for the good of the patient.