How long will I need to come before I am better?
- This is such an individual question it is truly impossible to answer with any level of certainty. There are many elements that can speed or slow your healing process—psychological factors, sleep, diet, chronicity and severity of condition, concurrent conditions and pharmaceutical side effects, immune and constitutional integrity, receptivity to treatment, detoxification/healing crisis (which is actually a great indicator of improvement but can feel like the opposite).
- It’s best to discuss your case and expectations personally with your care provider after your initial meeting and diagnosis.
If I am sick on the day of my appointment, should I cancel?
- Only if you are too sick to get out of bed and make your way over! Otherwise, receiving treatment is a wonderful way to speed recovery and reduce further development of the condition.
- Please remember that all care is geared toward your overall health and balance, even if you present with different symptoms each time. This is a ‘living’ medicine and treatment plans change to accommodate your changing presentations. Frequency of treatment always reinforces your body’s ability to gain equilibrium more quickly and efficiently.
Why not stagger treatments?
- The most effective treatments are done in relatively close succession, so they can build on one another and you can most effectively maintain your focus and consistency with dietary, herbal and other lifestyle recommendations.
- Intakes can get disproportionately long when too much time has lapsed between sessions, and that means less time on the treatment table.
- Acute conditions can arise when visits are infrequent which can detract from working on a root or constitutional condition. Sessions then become more about ‘putting out fires’ than restoring balance at a deeper level.
- Schedules can change and if you need to cancel or reschedule already staggered appointments, the distance between treatments grows even further.
How often should I receive treatments?
- For very acute conditions, 2 or 3 times a week yields the most successful outcomes. (This is when you are so incapacitated by your condition that it impairs your ability to simply get through the day and/or night.)
- For chronic conditions, once a week for a period of time tends to work well for most. Some meridians (luo and divergent channels) are best engaged on more frequent basis. We can discuss self care options such as self-application of essential oils on acupoints in the interim between treatments if it’s not possible to come in more often.
Is it appropriate for children , pregnant women , patients on blood thinners or with compromised immunity?
- Yes. If you have concerns, speak with your practitioner about them so you can begin treatment with confidence.
What if I’m needle-phobic?
- If you are open enough to even consider acupuncture therapy, you will likely be fine. Having someone describe what will be done and where and how it will feel helps relieve anxiety and so does helping you work with your breath to relax into the treatment. Most people are surprised at how gentle it is after so much anticipation.
- If the fear is very strong, we may decide to begin with acupressure or massage, and wait to move into acupuncture when you feel ready. It’s important you feel safe, comfortable, and have a trusting relationship with your practitioner in vulnerable situations. It is possible to have powerful treatment using touch, herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, and many other modalities and bypass needles entirely.
Does it hurt?
- The needles used are extremely thin and are rarely felt upon insertion. Upon resting with needles in it’s common to feel tranquil, even euphoric as endorphins are released throughout the body and energy is flowing freely.
- There is a sensation at each acupuncture point, each with its own unique qualities, which is very different from being ‘poked by a needle.’ We call it the ‘qi’ of the point and it indicates the mind and body have been engaged in the process of directing energy. We try to describe the feeling in advance so you know what to expect and identify when it comes: heavy, achy, electrical, etc. And we encourage and model deep breaths throughout the process.
What should I expect on my first visit?
- At your initial intake expect a complete and thorough review of your medical history, a diagnostic examination which includes checking pulses and tongue presentation and possibly abdominal palpation or palpation of other areas of the body. You may be given recommendations for dietary changes, fluid intake, exercises, meditation, herbal medicine, etc. (There is a lot to take in and you may feel like you are floating as you leave the treatment room. Feel free to ask for a list to remind you of what recommendations were made.)
- It is helpful if you remember any changes that occur after your treatment and report back at the following session, or via email if there are questions or concerns.
Should I do anything special to prepare for my first appointment?
- Give yourself plenty of time to fill out your medical history forms. This will be your longest opportunity to discuss the details of your condition; the more thorough you can be the better, and all the more reason to arrive on time!
- If you are suffering digestive complaints or want nutritional counseling it may be helpful to bring a diet journal of three consecutive days.
- Two major diagnostic tools are pulse and tongue examination. Please try to avoid caffeine on the day of your appointment for an accurate assessment of pulse rate, and please refrain from brushing your tongue for an accurate assessment of tongue coating.
- Please wear loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment if at all possible. Most treatments can be done fully clothed unless there is binding clothing which must be removed.
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