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Tingling feeling in arms and legs

Q:  I was looking for some advice or reassursnce..I had t accupuncture 5 days ago and ever since I am  having tingling sensations in my  hands and feet and burning up arms.  i did have the needles in both hands and shins.  It  still feels like i have the tight sensation that the needles are still  there. I am slightly concerned as. I am also sensitive now to heat eg if take a  hot bath my body skin seems to burn.  Can you advise?

A:  It depends to some extent whether this was your first session or whether this has occurred in the middle of a longer course of treatment.

There is no doubt that first sessions, or early sessions in a course of treatment, can have some rather strange effects. Chinese medicine deals in diagnostic categories which sound rather odd to the western ear, like 'heat trapped in the interior' and the like, but most people make sense of this when treatment releases heat and the experience is literally one of heat travelling to the outer surfaces of the body and being let go.

However, reactions like this tend to be short lived and transient, perhaps lasting no more than a couple of days. The fact that you not only have a heat sensation but also tingling in the hands and feet suggests a more complex reaction. The first person you should speak to is your practitioner. He or she will know exactly what they have done, and hopefully be able to make sense of what is happening in Chinese medicine terms. We can think of a number of possibilities to do with heat in the system, but without knowing the exact patterns of your energy we can't really say a great deal.

If this is your first session, we do have to say that there are a number of patients who are remarkably sensitive to treatment and for whom we have to use the most gentle techniques to avoid reactions which can be like yours. This is utterly unpredictable, but once someone has thrown a large reaction to a simple treatment we always scale back what we do and build back up slowly. This doesn't sound quite right for what you describe but it remains a possibility.

The third possibility is that there is something going on which has nothing to do with the treatment itself. This is always difficult to say without sounding like evasion, but with three million treatments performed every year there are going to be a number of occasions when an unexpected problem occurs just after a session by chance. The key thing, if it persists, is to visit your GP for a conventional view rather than get involved in discussions with a practitioner about whether or not the treatment caused it. This can sometimes waste time when a solution is readily to hand, and inevitably treatment usually establishes causation.

We think the most likely cause, though, is an energetic reaction arising from treatment itself, so it would be wisest to contact your practitioner and if possible see them as early as you can so that they can see the problem for themselves. This may have a significant impact on how they carry on treating you and is bound to offer useful diagnostic advice to help them treat your more effectively in future. 

We hope that the experience has not put you off treatment, and hope that it addresses your problems well in future.

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