Intake and Diagnosis
We begin each session by talking about your health situation and your goals for treatment. In the first meeting, this can be quite a long conversation, covering your current symptoms, overall health, stress level, and life situation.
I’ll ask the history of your problem, when it occurs, what makes it better or worse, how severe it is and how it interferes with your life.
I’ll also ask about your general health including appetite and digestion, sleep, mood, energy level, and menstrual cycle.
And I’ll feel your pulse and look at your tongue to get more information about the state of your health.
This information is used to develop an individual diagnosis and treatment strategy.
In subsequent sessions, we usually talk briefly and adjust the treatment plan based on any improvements or other changes from week to week.
Acupuncture treatments last about 45 minutes to an hour, and are performed with you lying comfortably on a massage table.
Needles are placed in specific locations, which are chosen according to your diagnosis.
While there are acupuncture points all over the body, the most commonly used are on the arms and legs. I’ll always check with you first before treating any location on your body.
Once your needles are in, your job is to rest while the needles do their work.
Most people find this time very relaxing, and use it as a time to rest and quiet the mind; many even fall asleep.
I view our work together as a partnership, and welcome any questions you may have about your treatment or Chinese medicine in general.
If you’re wondering about something, please ask!
About the Needles
The needles used in acupuncture are extremely fine (about the width of a hair, much smaller than anything you’ve seen at the doctor’s office). They are so thin that they’re flexible and bend easily when touched.
Most people feel nothing, or a slight pinch, as the needles go in. (“Did you put it in yet?” is not an uncommon question.) Any mild discomfort quickly disappears.
For your safety, I use only sterilized, single-use, disposable needles.
A Chinese herbal formula may also be prescribed to support your healing process. Like acupuncture treatment, your herbal formula will be based on your individual diagnosis, and will be adjusted regularly as your situation changes.
Each formula is a mixture of about 5-15 different herbs, balanced to provide quick relief of symptoms and also correct the “roots” or causes of your condition. Formulas are also designed to predict and minimize the side effects that are common with Western medications.
Herbs are available in pill, powder, or tea form, and are usually taken twice a day.
Diet and Lifestyle Suggestions
Changes in diet, exercise, or daily habits may also be recommended. These are intended to help you positively affect your own health, and to increase the effectiveness of your acupuncture and herbal treatments.
Frequency and Length of Treatment
A course of several treatments is usually required to get good results from acupuncture. The number of sessions needed varies depending on your condition.
We will discuss a treatment schedule at your first appointment or free consultation, taking into account your medical situation, health goals, budget, and schedule.
Typically acupuncture treatments are given once a week. For very severe or painful conditions, twice-weekly sessions may be recommended until the condition comes under control.
The effect of acupuncture is cumulative, and results are usually better and longer-lasting with each successive treatment. Once you’ve reached your health goals, sessions are tapered to a less frequent schedule and then stopped.
Health gains are typically well maintained after treatment is finished. Some patients find they enjoy coming back for occasional treatments to relax, maintain their results, and address any other health issues that have cropped up.
Find details here on services and rates.
More questions about how it all works? Check out the FAQs.