Cycles of Change

Traditional Chinese Medicine from a Doctor-led team

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Acupuncture - Your Treatment Explained

First consultation

Cycles of Change Clinic Interior

As professional Acupuncturists, we are committed to providing you with a positive, comfortable experience whilst you are in the clinic. Most treatments last for 1 hour and your Acupuncturist will be with you during the session.

On your first visit, you will be asked to complete a contact form with your details, and to sign a consent form detailing what to expect during your session.

We spend a considerable time taking a full medical history involving a wide range of questions relating to most body systems. We will also ask questions related to your diet, and lifestyle. We will then usually ask you to remove appropriate items of clothing but wish to reassure you that you will be covered and kept warm at all times. Most people then lie on the treatment couch.


A diagnosis is then made using the history already taken, and an interpretation of pulses taken at the wrist. We will also ask to look at your tongue (tongue brushing should be avoided for a few days before seeing us if possible, as this changes the natural coating which can give us valuable clues as to the digestive health).



Small, sterile needles will then be gently and superficially inserted into various treatment points on the skin. It is unusual to feel pain or indeed a pinprick sensation. Each needle will either be removed immediately or retained for approximately 20 minutes. Each needle is then discarded into a sharps box.

Sometimes the practitioner will warm the skin or the needle with a herb called “moxa” (Artemisia or Mugwort).

Glass cups may also be applied to the skin in some cases.

Electro acupuncture is also used for some painful conditions, where tiny electrical impulses are passed between needles.

The session should be a relaxing, uplifting experience for you, and we always value your feedback.

Follow up

We give out our mobile numbers should you need to contact us after a treatment. Some people leave feeling relaxed or uplifted. Others can feel very tired or hungry. Some conditions appear to worsen for a couple of days, before they start to improve, particularly skin conditions, or chronic post-viral fatigue/ME.

Number of sessions

We recommend an initial 4 treatments, weekly if possible, and find that most people respond with some change or improvement within this period. If there is no improvement (this happens in approximately 10% of people receiving acupuncture), we will advise you not to continue and will discuss alternative options for treatment, with another recommended practitioner. After this initial course, if the condition is improving but not yet resolved, treatments will be arranged with more time between each session. Every individual requires a different approach according to Traditional Chinese medicine.

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A Scientific Perspective

Research quoted by the British Medical Acupuncture Society states that Acupuncture stimulates nerves in the skin and muscle and can produce a variety of effects.

We know it increases the body’s release of natural painkillers-endorphin and serotonin in the pain pathways of both the spinal cord and brain. This modifies the way pain signals are received.

But Acupuncture does much more than reduce pain and has a beneficial effect on health. People often notice an improved sense of wellbeing after treatment.

Modern research shows that Acupuncture can affect most of the body’s systems-nervous system, muscle tone, hormone outputs, circulation, antibody production, and allergic responses, as well as respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems.

An Oriental Perspective

Traditional Acupuncture belongs to a complete system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is over 2000 years old.

A full medical history, tongue and pulse diagnosis take place during the initial hour long consultation. This model emphasises the need for balance within our individual bodies and minds. This balance affects the flow of “Qi”or vital energy. It is influenced by internal factors (strong emotions, stress, depression, anxiety etc) and external factors (diet, climate changes, environment).

When the Qi is deficient, stagnant, blocked or moving in the wrong direction, then discomfort and eventually illness will manifest, either physically or emotionally.

Each organ in the body has an associated “meridian” which is a specific pathway on the skin. Tiny, sterile needles, the diameter of a hair are inserted quickly and gently into specific points along the meridians. Each Acupoint has a very specific anatomical location and unique action on the organ system that it connects to.

Acupuncture can be used to treat illness, or to prevent it. I have monthly Acupuncture to enhance my health and support my wellbeing. It can be used on babies, through to older adults, and non-needle techniques are also available.

Acupuncture theory often links seemingly unrelated symptoms that can baffle western doctors. Working with my feet in both worlds is a great advantage!

Further information

For general information about Traditional Acupuncture, trained and insured practitioners: British Acupuncture Council (BAcC)

For information about western medical Acupuncture: British Medical Acupuncture Society

For some further reading on latest medical research, including Acupuncture: PubMed website

For further information on Acupuncture research by Acupuncturists themselves: Acupuncture Research and Resources Centre – ARRC