Your First Visit
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Congratulations! You’re on the road to better health with acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
Your initial consultation, exam and personalized treatment will last about 90 minutes. Your comprehensive evaluation includes an in-depth review of your current medical conditions and past medical history. We proceed with a brief physical exam using both Eastern and Western diagnostic methods including traditional tongue and pulse diagnosis, followed by personalized acupuncture treatment. Your first treatment will introduce you to the type of acupuncture we provide, and it will allow us to discover how your body responds to acupuncture. The percentage of improvement and duration of improvement you achieve after your first treatment will set a baseline for future treatments. (As an example, did you feel 30% less pain? Did that pain reduction last for 5 days?) Acupuncture builds. Hence, we expect that your body will begin to improve exponentially from each subsequent treatment.
Your follow-up treatments will typically last 45-60 minutes, which include a combination of acupuncture and body centered therapies. Additionally, lifestyle counseling, nutritional and dietary recommendations, therapeutic exercises, and Chinese herbal medicine may be used adjunctively in optimizing your full health potential. This individualization of the treatments is one of the strong points of oriental medicine. It is why people may experience broad changes within themselves after receiving acupuncture for a specific complaint. It also means that the treatments can be modified over time to increase effectiveness.
Your Diagnosis and Treatment
In most cases, the initial treatment is fairly conservative to ensure that you are comfortable and to allow your acupuncturist to see how you respond to acupuncture. Based on your diagnosis, the initial treatment may consist of the use of 10 or more acupuncture points. We will describe the treatment in laymen’s terms as well as the intent behind the points. After the treatment, we will commonly offer a prognosis along with a basic treatment plan to fit your condition and budget.
Prognosis and Treatment Plans
A definitive prognosis is always difficult to formulate, especially following an initial consultation. After the first two to three treatments, however, we should have a good understanding of your condition and be able to offer you a reasonable idea of how many treatments you will need. While many people will feel some change in their condition immediately or within the first two to three treatments, others with more serious or recalcitrant conditions will need many months of treatment before a significant change occurs. If you are not noticing any changes it does not mean that acupuncture is not helping you. Many times the changes are slow and somewhat subtle as the entire body begins to rebalance from the condition.
During these initial stages we can usually gauge the relative effectiveness of the treatments through precise questioning and by monitoring subtle changes in your body systems. In the most general terms possible, one month of treatment may be necessary for each year that a condition has been active. For example, if you have had dysmenorrhea for the past five years you may need approximately five months of treatment before you will see a resolution. If you are experiencing acute back pain, you may receive immediate relief of the acute pain but may need further treatments to account for the underlying factors which led to the acute flare-up. As part of your overall treatment plan, we may also prescribe lifestyle and dietary changes to help you rebalance your body and mind. Exercises such as Tai Chi or various styles of Qi Gong are often recommended, although simple activities such as walking or bicycle riding are also beneficial.
Eat & drink water prior to treatment
Wear loose fitting clothes
Use the restroom
Please note THIS WARNING before receiving acupuncture.
Cardiac pacemaker patients: Should not receive Electro-Acupuncture
First Trimester of pregnancy
Extreme frailty or weakness
Local skin infections or breakdowns