Anatomy of an Acupuncture Session
Your first visit at our clinic includes time for a thorough medical history, discussion of a treatment plan and introduction to acupuncture by means of your first acupuncture treatment. It is an opportunity to get to know your practitioner but also for a way for us to get to know you as well. We like to take our time in this first visit to make sure that you feel comfortable and understand the process of Chinese medicine and all that it can offer. Because of this, your first visit can be somewhere between one hour and fifteen minutes and one hour and a half in length.
- First Visit
Taking the Time to Get to Know You
Your acupuncturist will greet you and guide you to one of our comfortable treatment rooms. We will spend the first portion of your visit discussing your medical history and answering any questions you might have about that Chinese medicine process. The information that you provide to us is very important and helping us structure an effective and supportive treatment plan, after you've discussed the reasons for your visit, you'll have an opportunity to use the toilet and then get comfortable on the table for the assessment portion of our visit.
Assessments can take various forms, we always check pulse and tongue as well as ears for information that the body tells us about your health. In addition to these basic assessments, we often do orthopedic tests to determine function of injured areas, Point palpation of tender areas on the body and range of motion test.
At this point, your practitioner will discuss a treatment plan with you. Once we have your permission, we will begin treatment guiding you through each of the needle insertions. Once the needles are set, your practitioner will leave the room and allow you to rest for about 15 minutes. Midway through your treatment, the acupuncturist will return to check on you and your comfort, to manually stimulate needles and allow another 15 to 20 minutes for the remainder of your visit.
Each visit ends with a brief consultation discussing options for your care including wellness homework and a recommendation of a follow-up date.
What to Expect After Your Visit
Most people feel very relaxed after acupuncture. You may experience changes in your pain level or health complaint right away, but often it is over the next 1-2 days that people notice the most change. You might also notice improvement in your sleep, digestion and general energy level.
Our aim is to reset unhealthy patterns in the body and cultivate a healthy regimen for you to continue to improve your health. The process of healing is an incredibly personal one. It takes time and dedication to create health and make lasting changes. Following an acupuncture treatment regimen can be a powerful tool on your path to wellness.
What is acupuncture? How does it work?
Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin needles into the skin to stimulate the body to heal itself and manage pain. Acupuncture works in three fundamental ways:
1. Acupuncture aids in recovering proper blood flow to muscles, ligaments and tendons,
2. Acupuncture provides a mechanical release of tension in those same tissues: muscles, tendons and ligaments,
3. Acupuncture uses the limbic system to create deep relaxation and modify/improve pain/stress management deep in the brain.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Yes, no, sometimes...there is a sensation with treatment, in Chinese medicine call it "De Qi" [duh chee]. It is a sign that the nervous system has been stimulated and the body engaged in the treatment. The needles are literally hair thin and go into body easily with little discomfort. Common sensations are dull ache, tingling, warmth or cool, or a feeling of movement.
What if I am afraid of needles?
I don’t like needles either. We all associate needles with hypodermic needles used in injections. Acupuncture needles are a very different kind of instrument. Hair thin and designed for painless insertion and deep relaxation, the experience of needling is nothing like the one you have in the doctor's office. Our acupuncture specialists strive to make your experience a pain-free, supportive and relaxing experience.
Our clients often report that it is the most relaxing thing they do all week.
I don’t believe in acupuncture. Isn’t it just placebo?
Luckily, you don’t need to believe in acupuncture for it to work. In fact, I know an acupuncturist who loves to treat skeptics. That being said, if you believe you are going to have a bad day, you probably are.
I know someone who (or I myself) got acupuncture and it didn’t work.
There are different styles of acupuncture, different lengths/types of study and each practitioner is different.
Did they/you do a treatment series? Health concerns that are long-standing often require more than one treatment.
How many needles do you use?
Most treatment use 12 to 16 needles. Pictures in the media of lots of needles are over-dramatic representations.
Can acupuncture fix my problem?
Acupuncture is effective in resolving many imbalances and health patterns in the body but treatment is just one half of the equation. For lasting results, it is often what you do on the other days of the week that really make the change. In our treatment plans we integrate the other modalities within Chinese medicine to support and sustain the relief you feel with acupuncture. Using lifestyle medicine including dietary recommendations, sleep hygiene, stress management, therapeutic exercise, hydration and herbs; we get to the root of the issue and resolve the issue where it starts.
How many treatments would I need?
Every case is different. In general, the longer you have had a condition, the longer it takes to resolve. That being said, most people experience improvement within just a couple treatments.
How often do I need to go?
Acupuncture works cumulatively, meaning each treatment builds upon the next. In the beginning, treatments are compressed and then spread out as change is stabilized.
Once the complaint is resolved, acupuncture can be added to your long-term self-care regimen. Many of our clients return for "tune ups" before travel, cold/allergy seasons, as a monthly tune-up or when they are undergoing stressful life events to help them stay healthy and manage stress better.
Does acupuncture help (fill in the blank)
Acupuncture is useful in resolving a wide range of concerns. Working in the holistic model of Chinese medicine, acupuncture gets to the root cause of many body complaints while teaching the client how to recognize ways to improve his/her health through good daily habits.
The World Health Organization recognizes that acupuncture is useful in the care of the following conditions:
Quoted from The World Health Organization:
"In the hands of a well-trained practitioner, acupuncture has much broader applications beyond pain relief. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of common illnesses including:
- Upper Respiratory System
- Acute sinusitis
- Acute rhinitis
- Common Cold and Flu
- Acute tonsillitis
- Respiratory System
- Acute bronchitis
- Bronchial asthma (Most effective in children and uncomplicated conditions.)
- Eye Disorders
- Acute conjunctivitis
- Central Retinitis Myopia (in children)
- Cataracts (without complications)
- Mouth Disorders
- Post Extraction Pain
- Acute and Chronic Pharyngitis
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Spasms of esophagus
- Acute and Chronic Gastritis
- Gastric Hyperacidity
- Chronic Duodenal Ulcer (pain relief)
- Acute Duodenal Ulcer (without complications)
- Acute and Chronic Colitis
- Acute Bacillary Dysentery
- Paralytic Ileus
- Neurologic and Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Headache and Migraine
- Trigeminal Neuralgias
- Facial Palsy (early stage, i.e., within 3-6 months)
- Pareses Following a Stroke
- Peripheral Neuropathies
- Sequelae of Poliomyelitis (early stage, i.e., within 6 months)
- Meniere’s Disease
- Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction
- Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting)
- Intercostal Neuralgia
- Cervicobrachial Syndrome
- Frozen Shoulder
- Low Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Back and Knee Pain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Sports Injuries and Pains
- Reproductive & Gynecological Conditions
- Premenstrual Syndrome
- Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)
- Spotting and Excessive Bleeding
- Amenorrhea (Loss of Menstrual Period)
- Mental Emotional Problems
The World Health Organization Interregional Seminar compiled the above list of illnesses that may benefit from acupuncture treatment. The list is only a partial list and is based on clinical experience and not necessarily on controlled clinical research. The inclusion of specific diseases are not meant to indicate the extent of acupuncture’s efficacy in treatment, since all conditions may vary in severity and response."
Sources: 1. NIH, Acupuncture, Nov. 3–5, 1997, Vol. 15, No. 52. World Health Organization. Viewpoint on Acupuncture. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1979.