What to Expect
Your first visit will begin with an in depth assessment of your condition and an initial treatment. The intake and treatment may take up to 1 1/2 hours. Typical treatments afterwards last approximately 45 minutes.
During the assessment I may ask you about some things that you might not think are connected to your chief complaint, for example, your emotions, sleeping patterns, and eating habits. Chinese medicine considers the whole person, not just one isolated symptom. When put together, the myriad of symptoms and signs you are experiencing reveal patterns of disharmony. Although treatment will focus on your chief complaint, your whole being must be considered in order to develop the most appropriate course of treatment. Chinese medicine is unique in that it appreciates that illnesses may be identical, but the persons suffering from them are individuals.
Pulse and Tongue Diagnosis
As part of your intake, viewing your tongue and feeling your pulse can provide a Chinese Medical practitioner with a great deal of information about your body to help guide the treatment.
My needling technique is very gentle, and my patients usually do not feel anything more than sense of a small "mosquito bite", which disappears in moments. In some cases, you may experience some tingling sensation or slight pressure/numbness around the needle site which is common to show signs of your body responding to the needle stimulation. Although people experience different levels of sensitivity, I work very closely with you to make sure your experience is comfortable and positive.
My approach is always to use the fewest needles possible to achieve therapeutic results. With acupuncture, more needles does not always mean better results, but accurate selection of specific acupuncture points and placement are really the keys giving a excellent treatment.
Needles are typically retained for about 25 minutes. I often play soothing music to help you relax during this time. Many people even fall asleep.
What to Expect After Treatment
Your relief may be immediate, delayed for a few hours or even develop after 1 to 3 days. The relief may last for a few hours on the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment. OR, relief may last from the first treatment until your next visit. It is important to recognize that we are all individuals. Individual response to treatment varies and most likely will depend on how chronic and acute your condition(s) are.
Side effects are rare but may include the following symptoms: light-headed feeling, dizziness, sleepiness, euphoria, nausea, slight bruising, residual muscle aching. Any of these should last only a very short time. It is helpful to take a short nap after acupuncture. Always report to me when you experience the above symptoms.
On rare occasions one's original symptoms may briefly get worse or 'flare-up' after a treatment. A flare-up typically occurs later on the day of your treatment and only for a few hours or so and then improvement and relief follow. If the flare-up lasts longer than 24 hours, please call me and let me know. In the long run, acupuncture does not make symptoms worse. In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur.
Course of Treatment
As part of your first visit, I will discuss in detailed how I am planning to treat your specific conditions and approximately how many treatments you would need to arrive at a level of comfort in your well-being. Often, by using the herbal medicine I prescribe along with acupuncture is the best method to fight your conditions since our bodies need constant reinforcement to arrive balance within at all times. And most people can only come for treatment 2-3 times a week, therefore, by taking herbal medicine in between visits would only help to speed up your recovery time.
In fact, herbal medicine often works in conjunction with acupuncture treatment. They seem to compliment each other very well since certain conditions tend to respond better with acupuncture and other conditions tend to respond better with herbal medicine. And if herbal medicine work well for you then you may be able to cut down your acupuncture visits and save money in the long-run.
In general, acute conditions of recent onset may only require 2 or 3 treatments. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments (3 to 9 treatments) to achieve sustained results. Most people begin to experience results within the first two treatments. If there has been no response to the acupuncture after 4 - 6 treatments, acupuncture will likely not work and other approaches should be considered. The ideal approach to illness is to begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help, the easier it is to treat and the less the recovery time. For longstanding illnesses, weekly treatments are required for several months in order to have a curative effect.
Once you initiate a healing process, it is important to follow through on treatments. The more consistent you are, the better the likelihood of results. The effects of acupuncture tend to be cumulative. After you are feeling better, I will likely recommend an additional few treatments and ask you to continue with herbal medicine for a few more weeks to ensure ultimate result. In Chinese medicine, this is referred to as "solidifying the constitution." The goal is to further strengthen your body to prevent recurrence of the illness as well as new ones.