What can I expect during my visit?
During your initial visit, we will review your medical history and discuss your chief complaint and other health concerns. I will then take your pulse, look at your tongue, and palpate specific meridians, points, or areas of constriction based upon your condition. I will then evaluate this information and put together a treatment plan specific to your presenting complaint and constitution.
Needles will then be inserted at various points on your body. Sensations you may feel with the needles are warmth, achiness, tingling, numbness, heaviness, or a traveling sensation. These are good sensations and a sign that qi is moving.
The needles are then left in for about 15-20 minutes. During this time you may enter a deep relaxation or even fall asleep. During or after treatment I may make herbal, dietary or lifestyle recommendations. The initial treatment usually lasts about 1.5 hours, while follow-up visits are 45 minutes to 1 hour.
How many treatments are necessary?
The number of treatments will depend on a number of factors including how long you’ve had the condition and its level of chronicity. This assessment will be made during your initial treatment session. Generally chronic conditions can take anywhere from 5-10 treatments, while acute complaints can be resolved in 1-4 sessions.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is very safe when administered by a trained and licensed acupuncturist. Only sterile, disposable needles are used. Side affects of acupuncture are few and rarely occur, but can include an occasional small bruise around a needle insertion site. Sometimes patients can also feel a little light-headed right after treatment, which generally dissipates after a few minutes.
Do the needles hurt?
Acupuncture needles are hair-thin and are relatively painless upon insertion. Once the needles are in however, they are manipulated so that patients may feel achiness, tingling, numbness, warmth, or a traveling sensation. All of these sensations are positive and indicate that energy is moving. I also do trigger point release work, which is an extremely effective therapy for all types of musculoskeletal pain.
This type of treatment entails needling into taut constricted bands of muscle fibers. The sensations can be intense (I always check with patients to make sure they are okay with this technique beforehand) in that patients tend to experience a deep achey sensation and then feel the muscle twitch, which is the muscle releasing. These muscles can be a little sore after treatment, but that usually subsides in a day or two.
How should I come prepared for treatment?
It is best to have a light snack or meal before coming for a treatment, and to also be well hydrated. Patients should not come on an empty stomach or after having an excessively full meal or after consuming alcohol.
What should I expect to feel after treatment? What should I do or not do?
In general, people tend to feel very relaxed after treatment. It is best to drink plenty of water and not to do any strenuous activity afterwards, including overeating or over-drinking.