What To Expect
The process surrounding acupuncture treatment is unlike anything else you’ve experienced.
Read on to learn more about what to expect.
I ask you a whole bunch of questions
I’m not satisfied with Band-Aid solutions. My goal is to get to the root of your problem but in order to do that, I need to know all about you. This is why it is so important that you are honest and thorough in filling out your new patient paperwork and answering my questions at your first appointment. If you have scheduled an appointment because you have a sore back, I know it seems weird that I am asking you about your digestion, your sleep, and your mood. But my goal is to go way beyond symptom management and to address the root of your health problems. The only way I can do that is by understanding the big picture.
You stick out your tongue at me (and I poke and prod you a bit)
Using some special methods of examination and good old-fashioned careful observation, Chinese doctors have been diagnosing patients for thousands of years, long before the advent of modern medical technology. In keeping with this tradition, I will ask you to stick out your tongue so that I can evaluate its size, color, and coating. I will carefully feel your pulse. If you have pain, I will use my hands to palpate the texture of your muscles and will evaluate the circulatory function in various parts of your body. I will also use use some thoroughly modern tools, such as cutting-edge software to measure how your body is handling stress. By the time I’ve finished examining you I’ve formed a very comprehensive understanding of why you are in pain or are sick (which is the critical first step in formulating a plan to help you get well).
I give it to you straight
If I don’t honestly believe that I can help you, I will tell you. Right up front. I won’t waste your money or my time unless my clinical experience leads me to believe that you are a good candidate for the therapies I offer. It is impossible to know for sure who will be helped by acupuncture but over a decade of training and thirteen years of clinical experience make my guesses pretty educated ones. Based on all the information I have gathered to this point, I will tell you whether I think you will be an excellent, good, average, or poor responder to acupuncture. At this point I will also tell you a bit about the course of treatment that I anticipate for you. I will give you an approximation of how many treatments you are likely to require before seeing results. I will tell you if I think that you could benefits from herbal medicine, dietary changes, or non-needle therapies such as gua sha in addition to acupuncture.
You roll up your sleeves and I get to work
Next it’s time to get to work! You may be asked to sit in a recliner chair or you may lie down on a massage table. In most cases there is no need to remove clothing. After sanitizing my hands and cleaning your skin, I will insert between six and twenty sterile, single-use needles. In many cases, the needles are placed in areas that are far from the problem. For example, many of the most important points for treating headaches are in the feet and many of the most important points for treating back pain are in the hands. The insertion of the needles feels something like a mosquito bite or a small pinch. This may be followed by a mild sensation of aching, numbness, or tingling. These sensations pass quickly, however, and most patients become deeply relaxed.
Don’t expect to feel big changes…yet
Some people notice an immediate change after their very first treatment but this is not necessarily typical. Often, especially with chronic or severe problems, it takes several acupuncture sessions to see results. Acupuncture is kind of like eating right or exercising – you don’t do it just once and expect a lasting change. The good news about acupuncture is that (unlike most other healthy habits) most people don’t have to continue with it forever. My goal is to work myself out of a job as quickly as possible and send you on your way healthier and happier than when we met.
For best results, hold up your end of the bargain
The people who get the best results from acupuncture are the ones who are willing to participate in the process. I can tell you one thing with certainty: you will be disappointed if you come to me expecting to be fixed without any effort on your part. One of the most important things that you can do to increase your odds of success is to commit to the treatment frequency that I recommended for you. This is your acupuncture dose and, just like medication, adequate dose is critical for treatment effectiveness. I may also make recommendations for changes to your diet and lifestyle but I promise to be practical, realistic, and gentle when it comes to the changes that I ask of you.
Today is the first day of the rest of your happier, healthier life
Most people seek acupuncture out as a last resort for pain or illness. They come hoping for relief from back pain, seasonal allergies, digestive problems, or hormonal issues. What they end up finding, however, is that acupuncture carries many unexpected gifts. Patients report mental clarity. Sharper senses. Better sleep. More patience. A renewed sense of gratitude. A deeper connection with loved ones. An ability to make decisions and take action with greater confidence. A deeper understanding of themselves. Does all this sound too good to be true? Check out some of these testimonials from past patients.