What can I expect during my first acupuncture appointment?
For your first appointment, the intake process typically takes about 30 minutes and the actual treatment takes about one hour. During the intake process, we will review your patient intake form together and go over your health concerns and goals. I will feel your pulses and ask to look at your tongue as part of the diagnostic process. I may also want to inspect your skin or area(s) of the body pertinent to your treatment. After we have finished talking, your treatment will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Soft music may be played to help you relax. You will lie on a table especially designed for your comfort. Follow-up appointments typically take about one hour, which includes both a verbal check-in and the treatment itself.
How can I prepare for my treatment?
Try to avoid caffeine within 3 hours of your appointment. It’s best to have something light to eat an hour or so before your treatment, avoid being too hungry or too full during your treatment. Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows for easy access to areas below your arms and legs. Please do not wear any perfumes or scented products. Quiet is greatly appreciated while you are receiving an acupuncture treatment. Please silence cell phones and speak softly. A peaceful atmosphere will enhance your relaxation and the relaxation of others.
What should I wear?
Please come prepared with loose and comfortable clothing. Some people are most comfortable in yoga wear, while others enjoy wearing a T-shirt and shorts, or sweatpants. The most optimal clothing is light, breathable, soft on both your skin and the practitioner’s hands, and that moves easily with your body during stretches or other physical body manipulations. Comfortable gowns are provided when needed.
What parts of my body will be touched/the needles be inserted?
This all depends on your level of comfort and dependent of the treatment plan. It is possible that your treatment may include work on your back, abdomen, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders. If there are any parts of your body that you are not comfortable with being touched, please discuss this with your practitioner at the beginning of your treatment.
What will the acupuncture feel like?
During your acupuncture treatment it is common to experience any number of sensations, such as tingling or a sense of heaviness in the body, and a deep feeling of relaxation. Many patients fall asleep during their acupuncture treatment. Your treatment may require that your session start with rocking, stretching of muscles, and a slowly deepening pressure that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Acupuncture is most effective when your body is not resisting.
Are there different kinds of acupuncture?
There are numerous types of acupuncture styles such as Japanese acupuncture, Chinese acupuncture, Five Element acupuncture, Zhu Scalp acupuncture, Auricular (ear) acupuncture, etc. Each modality has various systems which utilize different needling techniques and appropriate lengths of time for needle retention. We can discuss which methods may be most appropriate for you.
What is the difference between semi-private acupuncture and community acupuncture?
Community acupuncture is a unique healing clinical model developed in order to create access to acupuncture by removing the barrier of cost from healing. Clinics offer treatment in a group setting and charge on a sliding scale format ($15-50). Community acupuncture treatments involve the use of points on the scalp and below the elbows and knees to treat the entire body – and patients are often sitting up or reclining in chairs. The clinic is set-up so that while one receives treatment, they are surrounded by other people quietly receiving treatment at the same time, typically in one large (or small) room. As with any intentional group endeavor, the shared state makes individual treatments more powerful. Here, the patients create the healing atmosphere as much as the practitioner.
Semi-private acupuncture is similar to community style acupuncture in that you are in a large room with other people receiving treatments, however, there are heavy drapes between each treatment area – so the receiver has more privacy but can still benefit from treatment and at a lower cost. Your treatment is received on a very comfortable massage table. You may be able to hear the patient in the space next to your treatment area speaking with the practitioner or even breathing slowly and steadily as they drift into a deep state of relaxation during their treatment – and most people find this soothing and conducive to a more healing environment. Many people have routine complaints that work exceptionally well in a group setting. Sprains and strains, acute colds, headaches, and more are easily treated in an affordable group setting.
To insure your privacy, a short intake is done prior to your treatment in a private consultation room before your treatment. If you have a complicated medical history, additional privacy insures that we are able to ask sensitive questions and that you are able to answer them without fear of being overheard. Ample time is given for careful differential diagnosis and treatment the goal is to provide you with the best care possible.
What differentiates a semi-private treatment from a private treatment?
Private acupuncture insures that complex cases receive the appropriate time and attention. Private acupuncture appointments include customized herbal formulas and formula modifications as needed. Some people have medical needs or privacy needs that work best in a private appointment setting. During private appointments, I typically spend more time with each individual and am able to offer a full-body treatment that includes the front and/or back of the body, along with guasha, cupping, shiatsu massage and/or whatever else is deemed necessary to increase the healing potential of the treatment.
Semi-private treatments are wonderful and each individual still receives the same level of care and treatments are based more on a community-style approach, where acupuncture is the fundamental technique used for treatment.
What should I do during the session?
Prior to the session, feel free to ask the practitioner any questions about the technique or the upcoming session. During the treatment, make yourself comfortable. Turn off your cell phone and allow yourself to be present. The practitioner will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating if/when they need more or less pressure, another blanket, or anything else relevant to the session. If you have any questions regarding the session or about the particular technique you are receiving, feel free to ask.
How will I feel after the session?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
Acupuncture can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, and bring a sense of peace to the mind. Hundreds of clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others) to nausea, migraine headache, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility.
How often should I receive acupuncture?
We will discuss the best treatment plan to address your needs. Some people find resolution to their concerns with the first treatment, while others it may take more treatments. In China, acupuncture is typically received on a daily to every-other-day basis often for 5-7 days, with one day off in-between. With this model of treatment, results can be achieved quickly. However, it is possible to achieve the same results, receiving the same number of treatments, once a week – however the time it will take to achieve the same result will be extended to about two months.
Are there any medical conditions that would make acupuncture inadvisable?
Yes. That’s why it’s imperative that, before you begin your session, the practitioner asks general health questions. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking.