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What will an acupuncturist ask me?

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

Today's blog post is all about the questions we ask, and why, in an acupuncturist consultation.


I promise it isn't because we are nosey. It is because you are a whole person. Your pain, poo, sleep, menstrual cycle, diet, body temperature are all part of you. So, your acupuncturist asks lots of questions to understand you better.


Because the more we know, the better our diagnosis. And the better our diagnosis the better our treatment can be. Some of the questions may make you squirm (who really enjoys describing their bowel movements, except my four-year-old) but there is no judgement from your practitioner and it really does tell us a lot.


As always if you have any questions back for me, about the questions I will ask you, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Love from Andrea

 

What is w.e.e g.a.s.p?

I'll admit it is a made-up thing. It was my way of remembering the questions which I need to ask in a consultation. But it has been really helpful. Because there are lots of questions that are important to our diagnosis. To getting our diagnosis correct.


You are a whole person, so we ask questions from head to toe. Whether your main concern is shoulder pain. Or infertility. Or anxiety.


I promise we don't ask these questions to be nosey. Or make you uncomfortable. We simple ask because they are necessary and there is no judgement on your answers.


Wee gasp stands for


W: waste which is urine and stools

E: energy

E: emotions

G: gynaecological (if appropriate)

A: appetite including thirst

S: sexual (if appropriate)

P: physical including pain, sweating


So below, I am going to run you through the questions I may ask in an acupuncture consultation. Sometimes, as I refine I will start to choose my questioning more specifically. You will see there is a second column, which are my notes for what signs and symptoms pertaining to. You do not need to worry about these, but I know my acupuncture followers will love it! However if you do find yourself interested, you might see a pattern in your signs and symptoms?

 

Waste relates to your urine and stools. Let's get this one out of the way first (although in a consultation we will probably warm up to it)!.


Questions I may ask are:

  • Do you get up to pass urine in the night?

  • Do you have difficulty passing urine, or trouble holding your urine?

  • Any pain?

  • Describe your urine i.e. is it yellow or pale or copious or scanty?


  • How often do you go to pass urine? Is this indicative of how much you drink during the day?

  • Any smell?

  • Describe your stools? Are they formed? Smell? Loose? Like goats droppings?

  • Are they difficult to pass? Any pain?

  • Constipation or diarrhoea or "normal"?

  • How frequently do you go?

Hopefully, now you can see why I need a system because that is just the questions on stool and urine!

 

E relates to your energy but also your sleep.

  • How would you rate your energy out of 10, with 1 being sloth-like to 10 being the Duracell bunny?

  • When is your best part of the day, for energy?

  • Do you have any problems with sleep? Falling asleep, or waking up in the night? If you wake up do you have to pass urine? (see the questions all start to link to each other)


  • Do you sweat at night?

  • If you wake up in the night, is there a regular time you wake?

  • Do you dream? Any nightmares?

 

Your emotions are a huge source of information for your acupuncturist. Your mind and body are connected and thus, we want to know about how you feel.


During the past year I normally always ask "how have you found these past 18 months?" and just simply let someone talk.


Your anxiety, fear, worry, overthinking, sadness, depression or anger all tell your acupuncturist something about you. Be honest about how you feel when they ask you.


Your emotional symptoms are just as important as your physical symptoms.



 
Acupuncture for periods

Gynaecology, obviously, doesn't apply to everyone. However, it is a really useful diagnostic tool and I've written quite a lot about it here.


We will want to know:

  • Is there any pain? If yes when, where and what makes it better e.g. heat, pressure?

  • Describe your menstruation. Is it heavy, scanty, long, short, erratic?

  • What is your cycle?

  • What is the blood like? Any clots? What is the colour?


  • Any discharge (outside of the normal window during your cycle when you are fertile)? If yes, what is it like? Yellow? Thick? Smell?



 

Don't worry we are already halfway through! And we start talking about what you like to eat!


I always ask patients to tell me what they normally eat during the day.


  • What do they eat for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Snacks? Favourite foods?

  • Are you vegan/vegetarian?

  • How much do they drink during the day? Tea or coffee? Water? Other?

  • What is your appetite like? Hungry? No appetite?

  • Are you thirsty? How do you drink? Sip, gulp?

  • Preference for hot/cold meals and drinks?




 

I'll admit when I did a consultation on family members I omitted these questions!


I mostly tend to ask about libido if I suspect a diagnosis and want a way of being able to differentiate.









 

Well done, you have made it to the end of the questions (well the questions for my acupuncture diagnosis). There are always more questions (as you will see below).


Acupuncture for pain

This section, physical, look at:


  • Pain (including headache)

  • Sweating

  • Body temperature

  • Dizziness

  • Deafness / tinnitus







Questions I will be asking are (but are not limited to):

  • If you suffer pain anywhere I will ask what makes it better or worse? Heat or cold. Or pressure? Or lying down? Worse or better upon waking?

  • Do you get headaches or migraines? Do you know what triggers them? Describe exactly where the pain concentrates? What is the pain like? Dull? Stabbing?

  • Do you sweat at night?

  • Do you feel subjectively hot or cold? Cold hands or feet?

  • Any floaters (those little black bits you sometimes catch across your vision)?

  • Dry eyes? Itchy?

  • Do you get tinnitus? If yes, is it high-pitched? Low-pitched?

  • Any numbness in the body? Where?

 

Finally.....


These questions below will actually be at the beginning of our consultation but I will also ask about:


  • A COVID questionnaire i.e. are you or any of your family exhibiting symptoms of COVID, been in contact with anyone

  • Your medical history including any medication and allergies. Also, any family health conditions that are related to your main complaint

For a full look at what this will look like please see the images below






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