Here’s a step by step explanation on what to expect and useful acupuncture facts, FAQs, follow up visit information, and other treatments that might be involved.
Your first appointment usually lasts about one and a half hours. Initially you are asked to fill out a medical survey form. We will review the form together and discuss your past health and medical history, lifestyle, concerns, current symptoms, and health goals.
We will also discuss your sleeping patterns, digestion, your appetite, and emotional well being. You might feel that some questions appear unrelated to your condition but the information you give helps me to form a more complete picture of your health and lifestyle. We may also discuss the difference between eastern and western medicine and how eastern medicine can positively impact your health.
I encourage you to ask any questions you may have. After all information is obtained I will check your pulses and tongue. Both are a direct reflection of what is going on internally in your body. Your pulses will be taken on both wrists in three locations. The information obtained from your pulses goes far beyond the heart rate and blood pressure obtained by conventional western medicine pulse taking.
After all of this I will reach a diagnosis and create a treatment plan and a course of action that is specifically tailored to you and will put your body back in balance.
The session will take place on a comfortable treatment table. Pillows are used to provide a pleasant and relaxed position. Most treatments consist of 8-14 hair-thin acupuncture needles and are left in 20-40 minutes. It is very common for patients to feel so relaxed on the treatment table that they fall asleep.
I truly enjoy educating new patients and giving them their first acupuncture treatment! I will consistently check in with you and make sure that you feel comfortable and secure.
Remember at Tara Wellness you have the option to choose your linens, music, essential oil, tea, and lighting to maximize your enjoyment and put you on the path to health.
What to Wear
I recommend wearing comfortable loss fitting clothing. Most of the points I will utilize will be on your arms and legs. If you prefer gowns and linens are always available.
Return visits are usually an hour long. I will begin by asking you about any changes you might have felt sense your last visit and if you have any new concerns or questions. After our discussion I will take your pulse and tongue and we will begin another session of acupuncture.
How many treatments will I need?
Typically acupuncture treatments are given 1-3 times per week. The exact duration of treatment varies case by case but generally depends on the conditions, your basic level of health and how well you respond to acupuncture.
Usually frequent treatments are done for the first few weeks; after that, the frequency of treatments may be reduced as wellness is restored. Average cases take around 6 treatments to resolve; while more challenging chronic cases can take 10+. I have many patients that come in religiously once a week for a “tune up” just to distress and balance out.
What are the needles like?
The acupuncture needles used are individually wrapped, sterile, and extremely thin. Most people are surprised to see how thin the needles actually are. They range in width from approximately .14mm to .30mm and in length from 15mm (.5inch) to 75 mm (3inches). The most commonly used needle is 25mm (1 inch) .25 mm width needle.
Generally they are inserted about 1-3 mm into the body. Once used the needles are properly disposed of in a sharps container. Needles are never reused and do not have additional agents or herbs placed on the tip.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture needles can have a certain sensation after they are inserted, but few would call it pain. Unlike hypodermic needles, which are used to deliver liquids inside the body and are hollow, acupuncture needles are solid and part the tissue rather than cut it.
Acupuncture needles are also much finer than hypodermic needles. About 40 acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard 18-gauge hypodermic needle! Due to the thinness of acupuncture needles and the swiftness of insertion, the pain reflexes on the nerve endings are not even stimulated.
There are some areas of the body that will always be more sensitive including fingers, toes, and palms, but it’s generally nothing more than a quick little prick. By the time all the needles are inserted, you generally do not feel any of them and are consumed with a sense of calm relaxation.
What other treatments may be involved?
Electro acupuncture: the acupuncture needles are stimulated with an electric current delivered from a machine. This is often and effectively used in patients dealing with pain.
Moxibustion: this involves the burning of the herb Artemesia Vulgaris-either on the top of a needle or held up to the skin at a distance. This is used often in patients who are dealing with cold or stagnant conditions such as certain types of abdominal cramps or arthritis.
Cupping: this involves the use of glass or plastic cups which are placed on the body with suction to help remove toxins and muscle tension. They are used often in patients with immune issues such as a cold as well as for pain. Cupping can assist in pulling lactic acid buildup out of the muscles allowing the lymph to flush it out of the body. It is also great for allowing more oxygen and blood into the surrounding tissue.
Tui Na: this is essentially a massage that is targeted towards the meridians and acupuncture points. It is used for a variety of conditions.
Herbal Therapy: prescription of herbal formulas consisting of about 5-15 herbs that are individualized for each patient’s condition and constitution.
Gua Sha: Rubbing of the skin with a jade tool to facilitate the circulation of blood
Nutritional Counseling: Specific foods can be added or avoided to help strengthen the body’s natural ability to heal.
Lifestyle Coaching: tips and support to help you reach a goal and make changes to better your life!
Meditation: Life’s secret weapon! I may advise specific meditations that help build a positive internal landscape and foster strength through externally turbulent times.