with Sandy Steele on 01865 773437
People are often surprised by the 'side-benefits' of acupuncture. Conventional treatment often brings unwanted side effects. When you come for acupuncture it's almost impossible to treat you for just one thing. We can't make a diagnosis until we know everything about your health - that's just the way the system of medicine works. The aim is to get to the root cause of your symptoms: along the way you'll find that other things begin to improve as well.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncturists work with the concept of 'Qi', or life force. You can't see it, and it can't be measured scientifically (yet). Acupuncturists can assess the state of your Qi by taking your pulses at both wrists. Although you can't see Qi, you can certainly feel it. It's what makes you feel alive. It's what shifts inside you when you get angry, feel sad or fall in love.
Qi should flow smoothly around your body to keep you in optimum health. All kinds of things can stop that from happening: poor diet, too many late nights, repeated emotional patterns, bad weather - the list is endless. If you put even a small dam in a river, it will have consequences downstream. Acupuncture points are a way of accessing the flow of energy to free up blocks - so ultimately it's your own Qi that does the healing.
The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) provides detailed fact sheets summarising research into the wide range of conditions that can be treated with acupuncture.
What happens in an acupuncture session?
Your first appointment takes an hour and a half (follow-ups are 45 minutes) because Sandy needs to take down detailed information about your condition. She wants to know how long you've had it, how it's changed and what other treatments you've tried. She also wants to find out about your general state of health - your sleep, appetite, digestion and lifestyle. This information helps to uncover imbalances which might be causing or worsening your condition, and to tailor your treatment specifically.
As well as asking questions, Sandy will take your pulse in three different positions on each wrist. Unlike medics, she is not feeling just for the pulse rate but more for the shape and strength in different positions.
Acupuncturists believe that your vital energy, or 'Qi' flows around your body in twelve channels, or meridians, The acupuncture points are found along these channels. The different pulse positions on your wrists tell the acupuncturist about the flow of Qi in each of the twelve channels. This gives a good picture of your general state of health and any major imbalances.
Sandy will also want to look at your tongue, and is looking for shape, colour, coating, spots, cracks and movement. These all give information which helps tailor your diagnosis.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture needles are made of stainless steel. They are small and fine - usually no thicker than a hair - and come in sterile, single-use blister packs. The sensation of having acupuncture is rarely described as being painful. Most people describe the sensation as feeling like a mild ache which then gives way into a pleasant warmth. Some people remain aware of the needles throughout the session and others forget all about them.
How will I feel during acupuncture treatment?
It's difficult to predict how individuals will respond to acupuncture treatment. The majority of patients find treatment very relaxing - some even fall asleep!
How often will I need to come?
Some conditions respond immediately to acupuncture, and others take a good deal longer. Generally, the longer you've had a condition, the more treatments you'll expect to have, and the more frequently you'll need them.
On average you can expect to come once a week for four treatments, and we will review your progress. By this time we will have a good idea of how acupuncture is working for you. We can then discuss lengthening the time between treatments. Some people will not need further treatment, whilst others work towards coming seasonally for maintenance treatment. Others continue to come monthly because they feel acupuncture keeps them 'in balance' physically and emotionally.
Sandy's interest in Chinese Medicine developed whilst living in Hong Kong in the early 1990s. On her return to England she trained as an acupuncturist at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (CICM). Sandy joined the CICM faculty over ten years ago and she especially enjoys helping students to develop their practical skills.
After graduation, Sandy spent time working in a large clinic in Sri Lanka where, for many patients, acupuncture was the primary source of health care.
Sandy's patient list reflects the diversity of complaints she became used to treating whilst abroad. She has a particular interest in mental / emotional problems and draws on her training in and practice of Vipassana meditation to support her treatment of conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Sandy opened Bonn Square Therapy Room in October 2015 to gather a talented, committed group of therapists working in central Oxford. In keeping with the welcoming ethos at New Road Baptist Church which kindly hosts us, Sandy invites anybody who wishes to explore the benefits of acupuncture. It's her firm belief that cost should not be a barrier to treatment and she therefore operates a sliding scale of fees for a quota of patients.
When Sandy isn't seeing patients or teaching at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine she likes nothing better than walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales with her partner and her dog, Mila.
As a member of the British Acupuncture Council (MBAcC), Sandy adheres to strict codes of hygiene and ethics, and has full professional indemnity insurance.
01865 773 437
View Sandy's timetable at Bonn Square Therapy Room