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
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 clients usually do not feel anything more than
sense of a small "mosquito bite", which disappears in moments. 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 to giving an excellent
Needles are typically left in for about 20 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.
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.
To help reduce the risk of side effects, please read the section entitled Visit Preparation.
On rare occasions one's original symptoms may breifly get worse or 'flare-up' after a treatment.
A flare-up typically occurs later on the day of your treatment and only for an hour or so and
then improvement and relief follow. If the flare-up lasts longer than this, 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. For
example, if you have gave a cold, acupuncture will not get rid of the cold, but can help accelerate
the cold cycle so your body gets healthy sooner. If you are fatigued and starting to get a cold,
acupuncture may help your body ward it off. There are also some terrific herbal formulas for this.
In cases of chronic pain, your original pain may improve and then unmask other less obvious
pain in the surrounding area. Please report what happened when you return so I can modify your
treatment accordingly. I will also be interested in any change in your use of pain-killer
medications as a result of treatment. Please be advised that changes in prescription medication
require prior approval and strict monitoring by your family physician.
Course of Treatment
As part of your first visit, I will discuss with you a proposed course of treatment. Since
individuals vary, it is difficult to state definitively at the time of your first visit how
many treatments will be required. In general, acute conditions of recent onset may only
require 2 or 3 treatments. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments to achieve
sustained results. With chronic conditions I usually recommend an initial course of
3-5 treatments in order to make a better assessment of whether or not acupuncture will help
the condition. Most people begin to experience results within the first two treatments.
The ideal approach to illness is to begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you seek
help, the easier it is to treat. For longstanding illnesses, weekly treatments may be 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. 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. Healing requires a lot of energy. Your body is most vulnerable following recovery
from illness because it has expended much of its energy and internal resources in order to get
better. It is therefore important to have a few treatments in order to prevent repeated or
new illness. In general, when an illness recurs it is often more difficult to treat.