Does acupuncture hurt?
Under most circumstances the insertion of the needles does not hurt. The needles are solid and are about the width of a human hair. Some patients may feel something akin to a pinch when the needles are inserted, but this feeling quickly goes away. Acupoints on the hands, feet and face tend to be the most sensitive due to large number nerve endings in these areas of the body. If you severe pain at any time during a treatment, let your acupuncturist know immediately.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to be effective?
No, you don't have to believe in acupuncture for it to work. Acupuncture is real medicine that has been practiced for 2500 years. Science has shown that there is a physiological change in the body when needles are inserted at acupoints. If you want real evidence, acupuncture works on pets as well, and they have no idea why you're sticking needles in them. Does it help if you are at least open to acupuncture? Most definitely! The mind is an amazing thing, so my suggestion is to be open but skeptical to any new experience.
How many treatments will I need before I see a result?
Every patient and every condition is different. An acute condition, like a recently strained muscle, may take only one or two treatments to correct. A more chronic condition, like irritable bowel syndrome or arthritis, may take longer before you see any significant improvement. I suggest with any chronic condition trying at least 6 treatments before deciding whether acupuncture will work for you. This gives you body time to adjust to the treatments and your acupuncturist time understand the condition fully and to adjust treatment protocols as necessary. I normally recommend allowing 4 to 6 treatments to evaluate whether acupuncture is having an effect.
Why do I need to fill out "New Patient Forms"?
Before your first visit you will be required to fill out paperwork. These documents are provided on this website to fill out in advance. If you are unable to fill these out before hand, please arrive at least 15 minutes early for your appointment to complete the paperwork. These documents are to provide both you and the acupuncturist with legal protection and to inform you of your rights as a patient. There is also a lengthy patient history form. This form will help the acupuncturist to get an overall idea of you current health and your health history. Please be as specific as possible, even if you don't think the question pertains to your chief complaint.
What should I expect on my first visit?
After reviewing your patient history form, the acupuncturist will ask you to explain the condition for which you want to be treated. You will be prompted to give as much detail as possible. Then the acupuncturist will ask many other questions that seemingly have nothing to do with your condition. For example, you may be asked about your sleep, digestion, bowel habits, hearing, or sweating. Your answers to these questions allow the acupuncturist to get an idea of your overall body constitution and are very important for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Next the acupuncturist will take you pulses on both wrists and then ask you to stick out your tongue. The acupuncturist will then devise and execute a treatment plan. After your first treatment, it is suggested that you drink water and try to relax as much as possible for the rest of the day.
Why is the acupuncturist asking me to stick out my tongue?
The tongue and pulse are two very useful tools to help the acupuncturist diagnose your condition. They are both indicators of the overall body constitution and of deficiencies or excesses within specific organ systems. After the acupuncturist has discussed your case with you and asked some questions to get an idea of your condition, they will then ask to see your tongue and take pulses on both wrists in order to verify or rule out causes of imbalance.
What should I wear to the acupuncture appointment?
It is suggested that you wear loose fitting clothing that gives access to the legs below the knee, and the arms below the elbow. If you would like to bring shorts and a t-shirt to change into, that is appropriate. For some treatments, it may be necessary to access other parts of the body. If the clothing worn does not allow for this access, then a medical gown will be provided or the patient will be draped appropriately.