Frequently and Questions

Below is a selection of frequently asked questions, if you have a question and it is not answered below please don't hesitate to contact me.
What to expect?

At your first consultation, you will be asked questions about your current symptoms and your medical history as well as such things as your sleeping pattern, digestion, and emotional wellbeing. Your pulse and tongue may be examined and areas of muscular pain or tension palpated. Women will be asked about their menstrual cycle and past pregnancies and childbirth.

You should mention any medications you are taking and any unrelated health conditions you may have. You may feel that some questions appear unrelated to your presenting symptoms, but all this information helps to create a thorough understanding of your condition. All information it held in complete confidence.

Before you have a treatment

There are several things you should bear in mind before having a treatment:

  • Many commonly used acupuncture points are located on the lower arms and legs so it is helpful to wear clothing that allows easy access to these areas. Because energy meridians range across the whole body, the points used are not necessarily close to where you may be experiencing pain or discomfort. E.g. treatment for migraine, may involve points on your foot.
  • Try not to go for a treatment on an empty stomach or straight after a heavy meal.
  • If you brush your tongue, do not brush your tongue the day of the treatment as the coating on your tongue is an important diagnostic method used in Chinese Medicine. Try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, strong tea or food and drink that discolours your tongue or can affect your pulse pattern.
  • Some clients can be tired or sleepy following a treatment so try to have a clear schedule that evening and refrain from vigorous exercise that evening.
  • Do let me know if there is a chance you are pregnant (even if that is not the focus of your treatment) and if you are completely new to acupuncture so I can take extra time to explain what happens and ensure you are comfortable with the process.
Does it hurt?

Most of us are familiar with hypodermic needles used for injections; however a number of acupuncture needles easily fit inside the hollow of a hypodermic needle. The needles used are very fine, similar to the width of a cat’s whisker.

Some people experience a mild pricking sensation on insertion, but once it has penetrated the skin, this disappears. When the needles are inserted to the required depth, you may experience “De Qi”, which is described as a heaviness, numbness or tingling sensation. Once all the needles are in, you are left to rest with the needles in for 20-30 minutes.

Is it safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest medical treatments, both conventional and complementary, on offer in Ireland. A survey in the British Medical Journal in 2001 concluded that the risk of serious adverse reaction to acupuncture was less then 1 in 10,000, far less then many orthodox medical treatments (the survey covered 66,000 treatments in their review, some were traditional acupuncturist and others of doctors who practise acupuncture).

This is one of the reasons why Acupuncture is so effective in treating pregnant women, infants and children.

What are the after-effects?

Most people experience a deep sense of relaxation and calm following a treatment. You may feel tired or sleepy so try to ensure you don’t have a full schedule or a long driving trip planed afterwards. Acupuncture has very few side effects when practised by a fully qualified practitioner. Any that do occur, such as dizziness or bruising around needle points are usually mild and self-correcting. Cupping and gua sha can sometimes leave a temporary mark on the skin. Similar in look to a bruise, they are painless and often clear within a couple of days.

In some cases, a short term flare up of symptoms may occur as your qi clears and resettles. This normally occurs within the first 24 hours of a treatment and has generally cleared by the following day.

How long does a treatment last?

Your first consultation and treatment can take up to 1.5 hrs, follow up treatments will last 45-60 minutes.

How many treatments do I need?

This will differ from one client to another and will also take into account age, duration of condition, lifestyle etc. In some acute conditions, one treatment may be all that is required, for more chronic conditions it may take a few treatments before an improvement is noticeable. If your condition can not be treated with acupuncture, this will be discussed at the first consultation and where possible, appropriate referrals will be given.

Will my treatments be covered by health insurance?

I am recognised by all the major health insurers in Ireland through my professional association A.F.P.A. These include, VHI, Laya Healthcare, Avivas and HSF. Other health insurance schemes also cover acupuncture such as the Garda Medical Scheme and ESB. Please check with your insurers if your individual policy covers you for acupuncture.

About Shenacu

Shenacu provides Acupuncture alongside Tui Na (Chinese medical massage), moxibustion, cupping, lifestyle and nutritional advice which are all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Shenacu Acupuncture is owned and operated by Gillian Searson. The clinic is located in Sandyford, Dublin.


I am recognised by all the major health insurance providers in Ireland. These include VHI, Laya Healthcare, Avivas Health and HSF. Other health insurance schemes also cover treatments, such as the Garda Medical Aid and ESB, among others. Please check your individual policy or contact your provider for further information.

086 818 7867

80 Cluain Shee, Aikens Village
Sandyford, Dublin 18