Your First Visit
Your first visit is longer than your follow-up visits. Plan to be here for 1 ½ Hours. This is when you’re your practitioner takes the time to get to know you, your reason for being here and how we can best assist you. Generally, a treatment will be offered during this visit, providing time allows.
The initial visit of getting to know you, your health history, and questioning is a very important part of your treatment and healthcare. While many of the questions may seem entirely irrelevant to your condition there are very good reasons behind the questions based on the Oriental Medical Diagnosis. The answers you provide to the questions allow the acupuncturist to tailor the treatment specifically to you. As part of the diagnostic process, the practitioner may feel your pulses, look at your tongue, palpate points, or test your range of motion in areas of pain or restricted movement. Other times further functional medicine testing maybe suggested.
In Oriental Medicine, everyone is seen as unique; no 2 people are alike even if they come in with the same complaints or symptoms. This individualization of the treatment is one of the strong points of Oriental Medicine. It is why people may experience broad changes within themselves after receiving acupuncture for a specific complaint. This is because the treatment plan is created specifically for you.
Your Diagnosis and Treatment
After the initial questioning and evaluation, an individualized diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan will be developed, discussed and acupuncture treatment will begin. It should also be noted that your diagnosis is assessed every treatment, not only the first treatment.
This is a good time to ask questions; though anytime is a good time to ask questions!
During the first or second treatment, beneficial lifestyle changes may be discussed which could help to improve your overall condition. This may include herbal medicine, supplements, dietary changes, and exercise. Additional modalities may be suggested that would enhance your acupuncture treatments such as massage, CranioSacral, Vibrational Sound Healing, Auricular therapy, Meditation, Energy Light MicroCurrent, Life Coaching, etc. Referrals to other medical practitioners may also be suggested anytime will working with your acupuncturist.
Needles and Adjunctive Techniques
What are the needles like? The needles used for acupuncture are both sterile, medically disposable, and very thin; literally hair thin. Most people are surprised to see how thin the needles actually are.
What will I feel?
The sensation you will feel when being needled is generally fairly minimal. In some styles you will feel almost nothing, while in others the needle will be rotated slightly until you feel a heavy or distended feeling indicating the arrival of qi. The practitioner is very sensitive to who you are and your response to needles.
How long will the treatment last? After the needles are inserted you are usually left to rest for a period of 30 – 50 minutes. Within some styles the needles are inserted quickly and removed immediately and in others they are left in for a longer period of time. Most people feel fairly relaxed during this period and many simply fall asleep. In some cases your treatment may consist of points on the front and back of your body, letting you rest for awhile on one side and then removing the needles, then having you turn over and continue the treatment on your back. Sometimes you will be asked to lie on your side before the needles are inserted. And other times your treatment may be on one side only.
What other techniques may be part of my treatment? Please Visit the Acupuncture Page (insert button) to See the Other Oriental Medical Modalities.
Prognosis and Treatment Plans
A definitive prognosis can be difficult to formulate, especially following an initial consultation. However, your acupuncturist may give you an idea of how many treatments and how often you may need to come to start off. After the first 2-3 treatments, your acupuncturist should have a good understanding of your condition and be able to offer you a reasonable idea of how many treatments you will need.
While many people will feel some change in their condition immediately or within the first 2-3 treatments, others with more serious or recalcitrant conditions will need many months of treatment before a significant change occurs. If you are not noticing any changes it does not mean that acupuncture is not helping you. Many times the changes are slow and somewhat subtle as the entire body begins to rebalance from the condition. During these initial stages an acupuncturist can usually gauge the relative effectiveness of the treatments through precise questioning and by monitoring subtle changes in your tongue and/or pulse.
In the most general terms possible, 1 month of treatment may be necessary for each year that a condition has been active. For example, if you have had dysmenorrhea for the past 5 years you may need approximately 5 months of treatment before you will see a resolution. If you are experiencing acute back pain, you may receive immediate relief of the acute pain but may need further treatments to account for the underlying factors which led to the acute flare up.
As part of your overall treatment plan, your practitioner may also prescribe lifestyle and dietary changes to help you rebalance your body and mind. Exercises such as Tai Chi or various styles of Qi Gong are often recommended, although simple activities such as walking or bicycle riding are also beneficial.
Your Wellness is a Partnership
Your Wellness is a partnership between your practitioner and you. Please ask questions, discuss concerns and options. We are here to listen and help you make changes to optimize your health, well-being and live a good life!