Frequently-Asked Questions

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical technique that originated in China over 2,000 years ago and has recently become popular in western countries. Unlike western medicine, which seeks to alter your body’s physical form (through surgery) or biochemistry (through drugs), acupuncture works with the flows of subtle energy — called chi — within your body by temporarily inserting hair-thin needles at key locations called ‘acupuncture points.’ These needles either ‘open up’ or ‘close down’ your energy gateways, leading to a more balanced flow of energy throughout your body

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is a very safe procedure. In a study of outcomes in 101 consecutive patients, there were no complications or ill effects after 720 treatments. Acupuncture needles are made of surgical-grade steel and are never reused — I dispose of them after each treatment.

What conditions can be treated effectively by acupuncture?

Both the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization recognize the effectiveness of acupuncture. Here at Turning Point I often treat patients with the following conditions:

What shall I wear for acupuncture treatments?

You should wear loose and comfortable clothing when you come for your treatments.

What can I expect during the treatment?

Turning Point has two private treatment rooms, each containing a massage table, heat lamps and towels, and soothing music. You often need to remove your outer garments if we are working with acupuncture points on your legs or torso. Before inserting the needles, I will massage your acupuncture points. This relaxes the muscle, promotes blood and energy flow, and ensures that you get the best possible results from the treatment.

You will then relax and focus on your breathing for 15—30 minutes while the your Chi rebalances. And then I will remove the needles, give your acupuncture points a final massage, and you are done!

Does acupuncture hurt?

You may feel a slight ‘pinch’ when I put the needle in, but many people do not feel anything. You may find that the points on your hands and feet are more sensitive than those on your back, legs, and chest.

While the needles are inserted and your chi is rebalancing itself you may feel various sensations, including a dull ache, numbness, warmth, coolness, or a ‘heavy’ sensation. These are all perfectly natural. Very often you will also feel pleasant sensations radiating up and down your body.

And sometimes you simply don’t feel anything at all.

What shall I do after my acupuncture treatment?

To get the best results you should avoid strenuous exercise for the first 2—3 hours after an acupuncture treatment. Drink lots of water and simply pay attention to your body. You may continue to notice subtle changes for several days after your treatment.

What is cupping?

You may receive cupping in conjunction with your acupuncture treatments. The ‘cups’ are made of glass, plastic or bamboo, and are about the size of drinking glasses. I apply a little heat to the cup (to create a vacuum) and the suction draws your skin partway into the cup. Cupping encourages circulation and clears stagnant blood out of your capillaries

You may receive cupping for conditions such as muscle pain, the common cold, stomachaches, and menstrual cramps. Your lymphatic system — a key element of your immune defenses — gets particular benefit from cupping, and therefore cupping is an excellent way to prevent disease.

What is moxibustion?

During moxibustion I will burn moxa over your acupuncture points. The heat penetrates deeply into your energy channels, clearing blockages and promoting circulation of energy and blood. This tonifies (increases) your body’s vital energy. Moxibustion can be used on its own, and you may see me combine it with acupuncture needles to maximize your healing benefits.

What is counselling?

When people come to counselling, it is often because they want something to be different in their lives. They may want to solve a particular problem, make a decision, or better understand their lives or themselves. Counselling or therapy is not about the counsellor “solve your problems” or “fix you” but rather about working together to help you move toward your valued goals.

Counselling has been shown to be effective for a wide variety of difficulties such as depression, anxiety, life transition, career directions, relationship issues, communication issues, grief and loss, chronic health conditions, panic disorders, OCD, pain management, insomnia, trauma, addiction etc. When counselling is effective, clients report benefits such as greater sense of well-being, more hopeful, more confident, more able to manage stress and anxiety, improved mood, more insights about self and life, increased life satisfaction and relief of various previously troubling issues in their personal life and relationships.

However, counselling is not necessarily effective for every individual or all situations. Although in general it is safe, it does involve some risks and discomfort. Making changes in your life is hard work — it may involve experiencing and dealing with uncomfortable feelings, trying out new ways of being; and feeling frustrated or impatient that change may not be as quick as one desires. Sometimes, seemingly desirable changes may bring with it additional, and possibly unforeseen difficulties (getting the job one desires may bring issue of life and work balance etc.) You are dealing with life here, so there is no absolute certainty and guarantee.

What is ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy)?

ACT is an evidence-based therapy model that focuses on having a valued engagement in life. It is effective in helping people with depression, anxiety, addiction issues, relationship issues, chronic health problems and many other issues. It transforms your life by helping you to contact the present moment, to change your relationship with your mind and be free from the control of your internal experience including feelings, thoughts, memories, beliefs etc., to see yourself in a totally different perspective and to make choice, to take committed action to live a valued and fulfilling life.

What kinds of herbs are used at the Turning Point?

If you are very busy or don’t like the taste of raw herbs you can take tablets and pills. Many people prefer to take granules for a stronger, more concentrated dosage. And if you like to cook I will provide you with raw herbs and teach you how to prepare them to maximize your benefit.

How many treatments do I need?

After your initial consultation I will give you an estimate of how many treatments you will require. As a rule of thumb, you will need more treatments for conditions that are very serious or which you have been living with for a very long time.

You will probably come in for treatment once or twice a week for the first month. After that we will assess your progress and change (usually reduce) your schedule.