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 – caffeine can cause the skin to “tighten up” and may make the sensation of acupuncture needles going into the skin more obvious. 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 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.
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.