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What to Expect:

 

The first visit is typically one hour and a half long; follow-up visits are approximately one hour. During the initial visit you will need to complete a thorough health history form prior to treatment. Once completed, you will meet with your acupuncturist privately to review it with you and discuss your general health as well as your main reason for your visit. Any questions you have regarding acupuncture or the difference between eastern and western medicine can also be addressed during this time. During the assessment, you may be asked about things that you might not think are connected to your chief complaint, such as your digestive health, sleeping patterns and levels of stress. Chinese medicine considers the whole person, not just one isolated symptom.  The symptoms you present with are put together and like a puzzle they reveal a diagnosis based on patterns of disharmony. The practitioner will then conduct an examination according to Chinese Medicine diagnostics. This includes observing the tongue, palpating the pulse and general observation. These methods of examination allow us to design a treatment plan specific to you. Your treatment plan will describe the imbalance we will be working with, a general time line for treatment and what kinds of adjunctive therapy will be involved in addition to acupuncture including Moxabustion (moxa), cupping, electrical stimulation, herbal prescriptions, nutritional supplements, and diet and lifestyle advice.

 

The following suggestions are provided to help you get the most out of your acupuncture session.  If you have any questions, contact the clinic prior to your first visit.

 

  • Please bring a list of current medications you are taking, including herbal supplements and vitamins.

  • Bring any lab or medical reports relevant to your condition.

  • Eat a light meal within a few hours of your acupuncture session.

  • Avoid alcohol on the day of your treatment.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.  Linens and gowns are available also or you may bring something to change into.

Preparing for Your Treatment:

 

To begin a treatment, your practitioner will decide where to place the needles. Each treatment is highly customized for you and your specific health concern.  The needles we use are pre-packed, sterile, single-use and disposable and are typically retained for 30 to 45 minutes.  Of course it is common for patients to wonder whether  the needles hurt when inserted and the simple answer to this question is “no”. Some people feel the needles as they go in (a slight pinch equivalent to a mosquito bite), and some people feel nothing.  Most patients are pleasantly surprised to find out that acupuncture is in fact relaxing and an overall pleasant experience.  Acupuncture needles are nothing like the needles used to administer injections or collect blood (hypodermic needles). Those needles are thick and hollow with a sharp, angled tip where in contrast, acupuncture needles are solid and much, much thinner – about the diameter of a human hair, with a rounded tip and a smooth, flexible shaft.   To further illustrate the difference in size, ten or more acupuncture needles can fit into the hole of a hypodermic needle. And unlike hollow –center hypodermic needles, which are primarily designed for the rapid delivery of fluids, acupuncture needles are solid and primarily designed for smooth, comfortable insertion to facilitate the flow of Qi (vital energy) in the body.

 

Once the acupuncture needle has been inserted and adjusted to the correct depth you may feel some additional sensation: this could include tingling, heat, pressure, or a mild ache.  All of those sensations are normal and dissipate quickly. The remainder of the treatment usually elicits a deep sense of calm and relaxation.  It is very common for patients to even fall asleep while the needles are in place.

Course of Treatment:

 

The number of treatments will vary from person to person based upon individual needs. As part of your first visit, we will address an appropriate course of treatment for your specific condition. In general, acute conditions of recent onset may only require two or three treatments. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments to achieve sustained results.

 

It is important to remember that Chinese Medicine is not a magic pill. It is a cumulative process that requires time and commitment to establish true and lasting healing in the body especially regarding chronic conditions. You will often feel markedly better in a short amount of time but for a significant shift to occur it must happen incrementally. As we see time and time again, sudden and rapid changes are typically short lived.  This safe and effective form of natural medicine gently restores equilibrium by focusing on the patient’s well-being, rather than treating only specific, isolated symptoms. And as a holistic medicine, over time you will attain a better balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of your health and enhance overall vitality.