Your First Visit
what to expect
Chinese medicine is holistic, meaning it treats the whole person. Therefore, the model of care can be quite different than what most have become accustomed to from a trip to the doctor.
Your first visit takes about 90 minutes. Much of the first visit is spent one-on-one, so there is adequate time to go over any questions, concerns, and medical history, as well as a physical exam, and acupuncture treatment.
In addition to taking blood pressure, heart rate and completing any necessary orthopedic tests, acupuncturists are trained to assess more subtle signs in order to form a detailed diagnosis. For example, looking at your tongue and palpating your pulse on both wrists provides me with a wealth of information about what is going on inside of your body. This, along with many other factors, helps me to to assess your specific pattern and determine your most appropriate treatment and plan of care.
Needles are then inserted, which is painless for most people, and you are allowed to rest. Most people meditate, listen to music, or concentrate on their breath during treatment, it's not uncommon to fall asleep or feel deeply relaxed.
Each point sends a message which encourages the body to heal itself. The needles are hair thin, stainless steel, and single-use. It takes about 25 minutes for the body to take in all of the information from an acupuncture treatment, which is why patients are generally left to rest for about that long. The body then typically takes about 24 hours to fully process and integrate the treatment.
Most of the time, patients feel very relaxed during and following acupuncture. If you are not able to fully relax during treatment, don't worry, the acupuncture still works. Most patients are able to relax more and more with subsequent treatments.
Everyone responds to treatment in their own way, but most people feel extremely relaxed after treatment, often for several hours. Most of my patients tell me they sleep very well the night after receiving acupuncture.
Some people experience immediate reduction in symptoms, or within 24 hours of treatment. Chronic/long-standing conditions often take multiple treatments before a difference in symptoms is noticed.
Depending on severity, acupuncture may be used alone or some combination of herbal medicine and/or dietary changes may be advised. If so, herbs are prescribed and/or dietary recommendations are provided in writing after the acupuncture treatment.