Most people who experience acupuncture find they love both the results and the experience itself. This page is here for those feeling a bit nervous or excited, and those who love to come prepared.
First Things First
I will greet you promptly at your scheduled appointment time and invite you back to a treatment room where we will get started right away. I think that the way many doctors keep patients waiting for 45 minutes or more and then another half hour or so in the treatment room is unacceptable. Expect to be treated like you matter! Please arrive on time so that we are able to spend the maximum amount of time on your treatment.
For your first treatment I set aside 90 minutes so I can get a detailed and holistic picture of your health, and understand your health goals and values. Except in special circumstances, follow-up treatments will normally take 30-45 minutes.
By dressing in comfortable loose-fitting clothing you can often reduce the amount of disrobing you may have to do. Be assured though that no matter how you dress, your privacy and dignity will always be respected.
I highly recommend all new patients print and fill out the initial forms for new patients in advance.
The Intake Process
For your first treatment will go through the most comprehensive health history and assessment you have probably ever experienced. I do this for two reasons. The first reason is that I want you to experience vibrant health in every area. Even if you come to me for help with sleeping for example, I want to know about your headaches and indigestion, even if they don’t bother you too badly. The second reason is that your symptoms provide diagnostic information to me about what is happening “under the hood” in your body. The symptoms you experience tell me what is happening with your body’s various systems and in what way they are balanced or imbalanced. In fact, often symptoms which may seem completely unrelated to you, are seen as coming from the same imbalance when I look through the lens of Chinese Medicine!
After we are done discussing your health, I will ask to feel your pulse. Pulse diagnosis is an ancient technique that provides more detail to me about what is going on inside your body. I will be feeling not only the rate but the quality of your pulse at various depths, which can provide a surprising amount of detail about your health. Western medicine used to use pulse diagnosis as well, but this delicate art has been largely lost as fancy and expensive machines have taken its place.
Finally, I will ask to see your tongue. Tongue diagnosis is another ancient Chinese diagnostic technique. Where the pulse tells more about the function of the body, the tongue tells more about the structure and substance. Please avoid foods which may stain the tongue in the hour or two before your treatment.
At this point I may step outside the treatment room briefly to consider your treatment and make additional notes in your chart. I will not leave you waiting more than a few minutes.
The Treatment Process
Most people find the experience of receiving acupuncture to be quite enjoyable and relaxing (after any initial apprehension subsides). I will first tell you in what areas of the body the needles will be for your treatment that day. You will then make adjustments such has rolling up sleeves or pant legs, or if necessary, I may briefly step out of the room while you change into a gown or shorts. I will then tell you how I would like you to be positioned for the treatment.
I will then begin inserting needles, performing moxibustion, cupping, guasha or other techniques. Please see the FAQ and Learning Center for more information about these techniques. If needles will be involved in your treatment I will check in to make sure that you are comfortable after they have all been inserted. I will then leave the room, perhaps lowering the light level, and allow you to rest while the treatment works.
At the conclusion of treatment I will remove any needles that have been inserted. I may check your pulses again, ask you how you feel and make notes in your chart. We will then discuss the next steps in your treatment plan, steps you can take to support your healing process and I’ll answer any questions you have. If you are being actively treated for a condition (i.e. you not coming in for a seasonal health maintenance tune-up) we will normally schedule your next appointment at this time. Please come prepared with your calendar or planner so you are able to do so.
That will conclude your treatment. Be well!