What to expect
Your first acupuncture appointment
Your first acupuncture appointment will usually last between 1 - 1.5 hours. Initially I will ask you to complete health survey form that details the current issue that has brought you to treatment. I will then review the form with you, getting further details of past health and medical history, your lifestyle, your concerns and goals for treatment. We can also discuss the difference between western and eastern medicine, and how this may relate to your current health concerns.
The next step of the diagnostic process is to then take your pulse. The pulse in Chinese medicine gives a qualitative picture of the six major energy systems of the body, and are taken on both wrists at three different locations. The information gleaned from the pulse is far beyond the heart rate information obtained in western medicine, and gives a deeper understanding of your current health. Next I will ask to look at your tongue. The tongue in Chinese medicine is a reflection of the internal condition of your body, and again gives further detail about your current state of health. I may also ask to palpate certain areas of your body, depending on what you have come in for. This can help further with diagnosis, and can also help guide treatment by guiding what acupuncture points will be effective in your treatment.
Treatment may consist of acupuncture, cupping or Gua Sha, moxibustion and heat therapy, or E-stim treatment. For most people receiving treatment is a relaxing experience, with a lot of people falling asleep while on the table. Acupuncture needles are extremely fine, and are actually about as thin as a human hair! When initially inserting the needle, you may feel a small pinch. Once the needle is in it will be manipulated to activate the point and bring Qi to the needle. This may produce a number of different sensations, ranging from a dull or heavy ache or a numbing warmth, to a mild electrical sensation.
Once all the needles are inserted and you are feeling comfortable, you will be left alone to relax for 20 - 30 minutes. This is where the acupuncture needles do their work, and is a great opportunity for you to take some time out from your day and decompress. How you feel once the needle are removed and treatment has finished will vary greatly from patient to patient and from session to session. Some treatments may leave you feeling refreshed and energised, while at other times you may feel relaxed and with a desire to rest further.
Follow up visits
Follow up visits usually last from 45 minutes to an hour. I will start by asking you about any changes you may have felt since your last treatment, and if you have any concerns. After the assessment, I will continue with the appropriate treatment.
You should usually see positive results within 1 - 3 treatments. For most conditions, one treatment a week is usually recommended. A herbal formula may also be prescribed to take in the interim, which allows the benefits of treatment to continue until you return.