A typical Japanese Needling treatment session (1) has a few stages and in this page I will give you a general overview of what they are so that you can can be more at ease. It is important to note that no two treatments are the same and thus your session may omit some steps and others may be performed slower, longer or indeed several times. This is just an overview to give you a better idea of what to expect.
We will typically start with a chat about your symptoms. I will ask you about pain, sleep, work stress and any other issues you feel are relevant. I will also expand on relevant topics such as your energy levels, sleep patterns how your digestion is and what foods you like or dislike eating and your typical meals. I will examine your Pulses and Tongue. These all give me important insights to the functioning of your body and enable me to formulate an appropriate treatment specific to you.
Secondly, I will ask you to lie down on a Shiatsu mat or massage table. It is warm and comfortable and you will be covered. Depending on your situation I may need to examine your Hara, which is shiatsu terminology for the tummy area between your ribs and your hips. This is a diagnostic area where organ states are also reflected in. I will feel its height and warmth and gently press parts to help me determine tension relating to organ function. This also has the added benefit of improving your digestion.
Then we are ready to start. If I am incorporating Shiatsu Therapy I may start with that or place your needles (or SSP's) and cords. Once these are in place I will leave you to rest while they do their work. 10-20 minutes later I will check the progress and remove the needles and cords. I may at this point ask you to turn over. If we are starting with Shiatsu It involves gentle but firm slow rhythmic palming of meridians. For example, part of the stomach meridian is located on the front of your legs, it actually starts under your eyes and ends in a specific little toe of each foot. If it needs to be treated I will stretch then press it via my palms and thumbs. At times specific acupoints need to be held pressed, heated. You may feel some tenderness but overall the treatment is generally quite gentle.
At this point I will ask you to turn over and once again I may place the needles as required and let you rest while they take effect. Following this I will complete the Shiatsu. I will incorporate stretching and Sotai corrections.
If you are more in-tune with your body you may feel sensations of heat, solidity, movement or feel some areas spontaneously release long held tension as the treatment progresses. There are other techniques used to achieve different changes. These may involve fast or slow speeds of contact, light or deep pressures and various hand or foot techniques. Most people feel so relaxed that they are nearly asleep through the whole treatment. For deeper issues cupping, moxa or Gua Sha may be appropriate
Finally at the conclusion we will discuss any outcomes, self care and follow up treatments.
(1) Japanese Needling Therapy is also known as Manaka Protocols, East Asian Needle Therapies. See Question and Answers for additional information on the names. It is not Chinese Medicine based Acupuncture in principles or execution.