Your Initial Appointment
Your first appointment is usually scheduled for one and a half hours. Please arrive 5-10 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Eat a substantial easy-to-digest meal sometime before each session. Try to avoid caffeine before treatments. Bring any copies of tests, lab results or other documents that may be relevant to the condition you are seeking treatment for. Initially I ask you to fill out a few medical forms. Reviewing the forms, we will discuss your past health and medical history, your lifestyle, your concerns and your goals for treatment. We may also discuss the difference between western and eastern medicine. These conversations are an important part of the diagnostic process. Once this is completed, I will recommend a course of treatment and explain how acupuncture will fit into that course of treatment.
Depending upon your specific condition, I will then take your pulse. Acupuncture pulses are a qualitative reflection of the six major energy systems of the body. They are taken on both wrists in three locations. The information obtained goes far beyond the heart rate information obtained by conventional Western medicine pulse taking. Next I will look at your tongue which, in Chinese medicine, can offer much information about your general health. Then I will palpate your body. Palpitation is nothing more than physical touching of the body in the affected areas. This is necessary in order to determine the most effective acupuncture points for your treatment. The structure of this diagnostic process is not set in stone, but is a fluid and dynamic system that will be tailored specifically to your case.
I recommend that you wear comfortable, loose clothing with an under garment.
Patients are encouraged to leave plenty of time both before and after their treatment. Rigorous exercise, sexual activities, eating a full meal, and consuming alcohol should be avoided immediately before and after a treatment for at least 1 hour. In many cases, acupuncture will be augmented by other therapies such as cupping, massage, moxibustion, and E-stim treatments, etc. For first time patients, I will explain the treatment step by step as we proceed.
For most people receiving treatment is quite relaxing. When the needle initially penetrates the skin, you will feel a small pinch. After the needle is inserted, I will stimulate it to encourage the arrival of Qi to that acupuncture point. The arrival of Qi may feel similar to a dull or heavy ache, a tingling, a numbing, warmth or an electrical sensation. On rare occasions, the needle sensation may be painful. Please inform me if you feel any discomfort such as a sharp pain. I will adjust the needle and you will be fine. Rarely is there any bleeding from the needle insertion point.
How you'll feel afterwards varies greatly from patient to patient and from session to session. Some treatments may leave you relaxed and energized; others may leave you with a desire to rest.
Follow-up visits usually last one hour. I will begin by asking you about any changes you might have felt since your last treatment and if you have any new concerns. After the assessment, I will proceed with the appropriate treatment.
How often you will need treatment, will depend upon your individual needs. For average conditions, I recommend one treatment at least once a week preferably at least three to six consecutive weeks. Most conditions show significant improvement within three to twelve sessions.
For health maintenance or preventative care, I recommend four treatments per season or 12 treatments per year.