Treatment is Teamwork - by Isobel Cosgrove

In our 2010 Acupuncture Newsletter I wrote about how regular treatments can support our areas of constitutional weakness - for example if you have poor circulation, low haemoglobin levels, weak lungs, eczema or other hereditary conditions, treatment can limit the impact of the illness and in some cases clear it completely. It can move us towards a much enhanced quality of life.

When clients initially come for treatment, as a practitioner, I of course take responsibility for making a diagnosis. This is based on the consultation talk we have, and also on the diagnostic information that comes from taking pulses and from tongue observation.

Sometimes it is necessary to refer you for blood tests and blood pressure checks if I think it necessary. I then begin treatments and in the first week or so the feedback you bring to me each time will add to my initial diagnosis and give me a deeper understanding of the progress you will make towards improved health.

The treatment is a journey that we will make together - the practitioner and the client work together as a team. The symptoms you present to me I organise into a coherent Chinese medical diagnosis and treatment plan. Your choice to have treatment represents a decision to organise your body/mind/overall health, in a way which works much better and gives you improved health.

As we progress, we start to work together in a variety of ways. For example if someone presents with insomnia - difficulty getting off to sleep, or regularly waking in the early hours - there are some changes that need to be made. Probably, if you are 45 or older, you will need to eat your main meal earlier in the day.

Stimulation from TV, a computer, phone calls, a lot of alcohol or caffeine (even sugar, and particularly chocolate) in the late evening will almost certainly affect the quality of sleep you can expect. Lavender baths, camomile and other sedative teas, Dr Bach’s Rescue Remedy all quieten any agitation and soothe the nervous system. Listening to music, writing a journal, making a list of “things to do tomorrow” empty and quieten the mind. They prepare you for the quietness that is the essential ingredient in getting off and then staying asleep.

So, by having acupuncture and/or herbs sleep pattern can be regulated. Then you, the patient, by making some changes in your evening activities can maintain the progress made in treatment, and support your return to good sleep, and better health in general.

Similar changes - for example fluid intake, regular exercise in daily life, taking pressure off yourself by using different pacing, getting more support for yourself in caring for elderly relatives, in bereavement and other difficult life transitions, treatment helps, and teamwork is essential. You and I working together towards good health is what really makes the difference. It is healthy to want to be as independent as possible as we get older, yet it is also unrealistic to think that any of us can completely “go it alone”.

The right kind of support for us is what we all need.


"I have had acupuncture for more than 2 years. I see the treatment as a key part of taking responsibility for my own health and well-being. Working with Isobel is a two-way process. In many ways it is a journey of discovery in which we find patterns that help me, and ones that do not. The benefits include deeper sleep, a balanced nervous system and hormonal cycle. Above all, Isobel offers a calm, reflective style of support, with a highly skillful needle technique."