What You Can Expect During an Acupuncture Treatment
At your initial appointment, I will conduct a detailed health evaluation to identify the causes associated with your individual concerns. The forms you complete will help me to understand the nature of your condition and your overall state of health. I will also use diagnostic techniques unique to Chinese Medicine, including taking your pulse at both wrists, observing your tongue and face, and Japanese-style body palpation.
After determining your diagnosis, I develop a treatment plan incorporating acupuncture as well as other modalities including herbal medicine (if necessary), nutritional and lifestyle recommendations. I will encourage you to ask any questions about your treatment so you always feel informed and comfortable with the process.
It is typically not necessary to undress during your treatment, as most needles can be inserted with only adjustment of loose fitting clothing. During your treatment sterile, ultra-fine needles are placed at several acupoints that correspond to your specific needs. The needles are about the thickness of three hairs, are used only once, and are disposed of immediately following your treatment.
You will feel a light tap when the needles are inserted just below the skin surface. After a moment, you may feel warmth, heaviness, tingling or pressure around the needle. These sensations are normal and desirable. The needles are generally left in 20-40 minutes while you rest on a comfortable table. Acupuncture promotes marked relaxation and most people fall asleep during the treatment. It is very common to experience a feeling of calm and general well-being afterward- a sign the body’s natural healing mechanisms have been activated.
I will schedule an hour and a half for your initial appointment. Most follow-up appointments last about 1 hour, which includes time to talk about your progress and receive an acupuncture treatment.
The exact duration of treatment depends on the medical condition, your basic level of health, and how well you respond to acupuncture. Acute conditions can usually be treated with one to five sessions, while chronic conditions take longer. Each individual case is unique, but I do ask that you give yourself the gift of at least six treatment sessions in order to fully experience the benefits of acupuncture. With each treatment you should see more relief and improved wellness. If your response to acupuncture is not satisfactory, we can discuss alternatives and I will always refer you to other practitioners who I believe can best help you when I cannot.
After achieving the results they are looking for, many people come in once every 2-3 months for a seasonal “tune-up”. Acupuncture is wonderful component to your lifetime health maintenance program.
Herbal medicine has been practiced safely and effectively for centuries and treats a wide variety of health symptoms by naturally supporting and supplementing the body. During the course of your treatment I may choose to prescribe Chinese herbal remedies or supplements if I think they will assist your healing process. I use high quality pill formulas, granules and tinctures, which are easy to ingest and convenient for use at home or on-the-go.
It is always best to consult with an acupuncturist before taking any herbs so we can monitor the safety, adverse reactions, and interactions with other medications you may be taking.
Chinese Medicine has always recognized that different foods produce different effects in the body when eaten by different individuals. Just as two people seeking treatment for headaches will likely be given different acupuncture and herbal medicine because the root cause of their headaches is unique, there is no one universal food pyramid that works for everyone. As a skilled practitioner in holistic nutrition, I diagnose imbalances in the body and then recommend specific foods a person should eat in abundance, which foods to moderate, and which foods to avoid to provide therapeutic effects in the body and mind.
I believe nutritional guidelines need to be specific to you as an individual. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the best way to eat because each of us has different body constitutions. Some people should be eating more of a raw food diet (those who run dry and over-heated), while others (those who run cold and depleted) need to eat mostly cooked foods.
Eating a broad range of nourishing foods is what I recommend for optimal wellness. Variety truly is the spice of a healthy life. In general, we do best when we eat very moderate or no animal products, but if we must, a varied, broad scope of these meats is usually recommended, emphasizing certain ones at certain times of the year. For the vegetarian or vegan diet, diversity is even more important to make sure an individual is getting all the amino acids necessary to maintain good health.
The goal is for you to find a balanced and authentic way to eat for the long-term. I will rarely advocate restrictive, limited diets because they don’t work. If it feels unnatural, forced, or excessively uncomfortable there is almost no chance of the nutritional program becoming a sustainable habit.
I encourage all of my patients to choose an organic, whole foods, plant-based diet that has minimal amounts of sugars, animal products, animal by-products, white flour products, synthetic additives, and various artificial ingredients they don’t cook with at home. Limit the quantity of items you eat from cans, boxes and packages and opt instead for fresh, “real” foods. The simplest advice I’ve heard is to eat only foods with ingredients your great-grandmother would recognize.
In this day and age, our relationship with food has so much to do with how well we are managing stress, expressing our emotions, and maintaining awareness of our core beliefs. We turn to food for immediate gratification and comfort, which often points to a deeper imbalance taking place in the mind. My goal is to help you work on this level so you can make lasting changes to your health that will bring you the energy and focus you desire.
Are the foods you are eating making you sick?
Chinese medical diagnosis will sometimes have its limitations in dietary analysis, for example if a patient has a food allergy or hypersensitivity to wheat, dairy or other common substances. When necessary, I will use applied kinesiology to determine if my patients are eating foods that are perpetuating their health condition and offer a detailed reporting of which foods may be best to reduce or avoid in their diet.
Some of the techniques I utilize for treatment include:
Micro-thin sterilized needles are inserted into specific points along the body to encourage return to a healthy state of balance
Gua Sha and Cupping
Scraping/Cupping techniques that promote and encourage the reduction of metabolic waste in the tissues and bring increased blood and energy to areas of pain, tension or discomfort
Guidance on eating optimally for your individual constitution, based on Eastern and Western food energetics
Educational guidance and counseling on how to reprogram your brain to overcome chronic conditions, pain, and anxiety
Warming herbs on acupuncture points to promote circulation and relax muscle spasms
Western or Chinese herbs and supplements recommended to reduce acute conditions or as a supplement to strengthen the body