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A Day in the Life of an Acupuncturist

A Day in the Life of an Acupuncturist

Caitlin Allen qualified in Acupressure Massage from the Northern College of Acupuncture, York in 2003 and obtained her BSc in acupuncture in 2005. Below she documents a typical day in her accupunture clinic.

Today a patient asked me what my day was like as she was interested in the variety of what we as acupuncturists do. So I thought I would share with you and paint a picture of the diversity of my professional life.

Before I started clinic I received a phone call from a patient who has been trying to conceive, and I was delighted to hear that she is pregnant. We booked her in to receive weekly acupuncture to support the pregnancy in its early stages. I also answered an email enquiry from a potential patient who is struggling with her IBS and feeling bloated and lethargic.

Acupuncture is great at balancing digestive health and we often see results within a couple of weeks. In clinic my first patient was a 70 year old runner who had damaged his achilles tendon whilst running last weekend. We talked through the things he could be doing to help heal the injury such as using hot and cold and how he could psychologically manage not running for a while. He mentioned his arthritis in his left hand so I also treated that using acupuncture needles and moxabustion (a dried herb that can be lit and held over the pain point and can be used to warm the area and alleviate any pain condition). He text me later to say his hand had never felt so good!

I saw a woman in her 50′s who has a history of neck pain causing migraine and headache. She’s done brilliantly with treatment and now comes once a month to maintain her good health and keep the headaches at bay. I then saw a couple who have been trying to conceive for 18 months with no success. We talked through their fertility journey and discussed ways in which they could maximise their natural fertility.

This included the man making some dietary changes and reducing his alcohol use and looking at ways in which they could bring some romance back into their relationship to counter the forced feeling of baby-making. Both left the session saying they felt it was the first time they had had an opportunity to talk and the woman booked in for acupuncture next week to help regulate her menstrual cycle.

After some lunch and picking up and responding to messages and texts from patients, I saw a young woman who struggles with insomnia. It was her 4th session and already her sleeping pattern has normalised.

She previously was having about 3 nights a week with no sleep at all, and the other nights it could take her up to 2 hours to fall asleep and then be broken after 2am, waking often and just dozing. She had slept well for 6 of the last 7 nights and the only night that she struggled, when she did awake at 2am she got back to sleep within 15 minutes. We decided to make her next session in 2 weeks rather than 1 to see if the benefits of the acupuncture would keep her sleep pattern this good for longer. If she is struggling she will ring me to come back sooner.

I was really looking forward to me next patient who was now 38 weeks pregnant as I hadn’t seen her since she was 10 weeks. She had come for acupuncture to support her IVF cycle, got pregnant and had weekly acupuncture until she was 9 weeks, which we recommend in early pregnancy. She was now due to have pre birth acupuncture – 3 sessions prior to her due date.

The research suggests that this makes it more likely that the woman will have a natural labour and avoid interventions (many of our patients manage labour just on gas and air), spend a shorter time in the first stages of labour, and that the baby is less likely to be overdue so thereby lessen the risk of medical induction.

My last patient of the day was a woman in her 30′s who has had breast cancer. She has been receiving chemotherapy and we fit the acupuncture around her chemo plan so she feels well enough to come and the acupuncture can help support her energy, lift her spirits and help her legs feel stronger. The acupuncture helps to deal with the negative side effects of the chemo.

Lastly, I had a telephone call with an acupuncturist that I supervise and mentor who is starting a new place of work next week. She wanted to talk through some of the issues that may arise and look at how to best manage her time.

Now for a cup of tea!

Visit Caitlin's website and read the full article here.

Caitlin Allen