What to Expect
- First Appointment
- What to Expect After Treatment
- Side Effects
- Course of Treatment
- Preparing for Your Treatment
Your first appointment will start with a thorough assessment of your illness or condition along with your first acupuncture treatment. Reviewing your health history, discussing your issues, and your first treatment may take as long as 2 hours, depending on your situation. Generally, additional treatments are about 45-50 minutes duration.
During this assessment, you may be asked about elements of your life that you might not have considered to be related to your main complaint. For example, sleeping habits and patterns, your emotional situation, your diet and eating habits, and other lifestyle matters. In Chinese medicine your practitioner assesses the whole person - not only the symptoms or one specific symptom. When your lifestyle, your emotional balance, and your diet and habits are considered all together, then the patterns of disharmony giving rise to your condition are revealed and explain the cause. Although treatment will be focused on your primary issue, in order to formulate the most complete and effective approach your entire being is taken into account. Interestingly, the uniqueness of Chinese medicine lies in the fact that it understands that symptoms and/or illnesses may appear to be the same, but the persons experiencing them are unique individuals and neither the causes nor the treatment may be identical.
Many patients fall sleep while they are being treated. Delicate needles are lightly inserted and remain in place for about half an hour while you rest with quiet, soothing music playing in the background. Additionally, your treatments may also include therapy with heat, nutritional supplements, prescribed herbs, and lifestyle and diet recommendations.
You may experience relief immediately, after several hours, or over the course of 1-3 days. Such relief may only last for several hours the first time you come and be of longer duration with successive treatments. Or, relief may begin immediately and continue until your next visit. Because you are an individual, your response also is individual. Most people, however, report feeling extremely relaxed and calm after their acupuncture treatments.
After your treatment is completed, it is recommended that you continue to rest for at least 10-15 minutes. This helps avoid any rare side effects. Such discomfort might include dizziness or lightheadedness, sleepiness, nausea, euphoria, residual muscle aches, or slight bruising. These should last no more than a short time. One way to minimize these and stabilize your treatment results is to drink plenty of water after your treatment. At your next visit you should report any discomfort experienced after you left.
Very rarely, one of your symptoms may get worse for a short period - or "flare up" - after your treatment. This usually happens later on the same day as your first treatment and lasts for 24 hours or less. Following the flare-up, symptoms typically start to get better. Overall, acupuncture doesn't worsen symptoms.
In some illnesses your body must completely get rid of a pathogen before healing can take place. For example, if you are have flu, acupuncture will not suddenly rid you of the flu but it can markedly accelerate the procession of the flu so that you recover more quickly. Similarly, if you are over-tired and are starting to get a cold, your acupuncture treatment strengthens your immune system, helping you to resist getting sick.
If you have been suffering from chronic pain, that pain may lessen, but a more minor nearby pain may be unmasked.
Course of Treatment
At the time of your first appointment you will receive a treatment plan that has been customized for you and which details appropriate therapies for your condition. Generally, if patients have an acute situation that began recently, only two or three treatments are needed. The best results arise when you get help early on.
However, chronic conditions or longstanding illness that has existed for some time usually require treatment for as much as several months to resolve the conditions and for continuing benefit.
There are specific acupuncture and herbal protocols to treat fertility or Hepatitis C, which will be explained at your first appointment. For those patients who plan to receive Western treatment for fertility or Hepatitis C, we recommend that herbal treatment and/or acupuncture be started about three months before Western treatment begins. However, because many patients learn of Chinese medicine benefits for their condition only after they have begun conventional medicine, simply start acupuncture and/or herbs as soon as you can, even if you have already started Western treatment.
Once you start the process of healing, it greatly improves lasting results if you follow through consistantly with the treatment plan. Acupuncture effects are cumulative. This is why additional treatment is sometimes recommended even though your symptoms might have lessened. Traditionally, this is called "solidifying the constitution." The purpose is to additionally strengthen your physiology in order to prevent recurrence. When you are in the process of recovering from illness you body expends a good deal of energy and uses up internal resources - leaving you somewhat vulnerable. The few additional treatments serve to strengthen your physiology and enhance your immune system so that illness does not recur. We find that when you get sick over and over again it is less easy to treat.
Preparing for Your Treatment
We want you to have a relaxing and safe experience when you receive acupuncture. We ask that you read the following carefully. Questions? Please don't hesitate to contact Cindi before your first appointment.
Set aside enough time so that you are not rushing to and from your visit. Physical strain immediately before or after acupuncture can weaken your body. Please schedule your activities on the day of your visit accordingly (for example, do not schedule your appointment for an hour before your 2-hour kickboxing class).
Be on time for your appointment so that you may benefit fully. When you make an appointment, please understand that your time has been reserved specifically for you. If you need to cancel or change your appointment, please kindly call at least 24 hours in advance so that another patient may be accommodated at that time (48 hours in advance for a new patient visit).
* Please bring a current medications list, including over-the-counter drugs, prescriptions, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
* Please bring medical or lab reports that may be related to your condition.
* Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. While acupuncture spot are located everywhere on the body, most of the commonly used points are located between the elbow and wrists and between the knees and ankles. You will feel better if it is easy to roll your clothes up to your knees and elbows.
* Eat a light meal a several hours before your visit. We will not treat you if you have been fasting. Being over-hungry raises the risk of dizziness or nausea. However, please don't eat a large meal or eat anything that might give you indigestion, such as rich, fried, greasy, or extremely spicy foods.
* Please avoid alcoholic drinks on your treatment day. Due to the higher risk of shock, we do not treat patients who are intoxicated. It is also not a good idea to become intoxicated right after treatment.
* Avoid heavy exertion (including sexual activity) immediately before and after treatment (i.e. within 2 hours).