What to Expect from a Session
What to expect from a session
Each appointment lasts around one hour. The first session begins with a detailed history of the presenting complaint, medical background and lifestyle. A physical examination follows; this usually involves assessment of the function of the problematic area, as well as a look at overall posture and mobility.
The observations and history will be used to formulate a diagnosis, and treatment will proceed if this is likely to help. The client can choose to have acupuncture alone, osteopathy alone, or a combination of the two – or I can suggest which approach is likely to be more effective. Clients usually lie down on a therapy couch, but treatment can be carried out with the client sitting if this position is more comfortable.
If acupuncture is being carried out with osteopathy, acupuncture is usually carried out first. Needles are usually left in for between ten and twenty minutes. A heat lamp can be used during this time to help release tension in muscles and relieve pain.
If osteopathy is being used, bodywork will be carried out at a level appropriate to the client’s requirements. I usually begin with massage to relax muscles, and then stretch and mobilise joints. If cranial osteopathy is to be used, this will usually be carried out towards the end of the treatment.
Finally, where indicated, exercises to help manage the problem will be prescribed, and a supporting sheet or video link can be provided. Advice on aspects of lifestyle and exercise will be given. Clients in acute pain will be told how to reduce inflammation and manage pain in the short term.
If I judge that a client’s needs would be better served by someone offering a different service, I will recommend seeing another healthcare professional and can write a referral letter. I will often suggest types of exercise that could benefit clients, and may recommend local pilates, yoga, tai chi classes, or personal trainers.
Examination and treatment can be carried out more effectively if the client is able to undress to a level that will allow me to see and work on the area. For upper body issues, I usually ask men to strip to the waist and women to undress to their bra. For low back and leg problems, the client can either wear shorts or undress to their underwear. Towels will always be used to cover the client when they are lying down.
Some clients feel uncomfortable about undressing and their needs will be accommodated. Dressing gowns are available. Treatment can sometimes proceed without a client undressing, with bodywork being carried out through a light layer of clothes. Acupuncture requires direct access to the skin, but needle sites can often be selected to accommodate client preferences.