Before Coming In:
Please eat a small to moderate meal or snack within four hours prior to your treatment. It is not advisable to receive acupuncture if your blood sugar is too low, and you may not relax enough to receive the full benefit of treatment if you are over-full.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, food is medicine. If you wish to focus some time on nutrition, regardless of your health complaint, keep a food journal of everything you eat and drink and how you feel for at least one week prior to your next visit. Bring a copy so we can discuss nutritional modifications that best suit your constitution.
What To Wear For Acupuncture:
If you wear loose clothing, disrobing for your treatment is not necessary unless access cannot be made to specific acupuncture points. Comfortable athletic clothing (sports bras, breakaway pants) is ideal. It is also appropriate to remove constrictive clothing and jewelry to enhance your ability to relax. Sheets are available for coverage and warmth as needed.
About Your Acupuncture Visits:
Each visit begins with a discussion of your main complaints, and details of your health (your sleep, digestion, emotions, menstrual cycle for women, etc). The pulse and tongue are examined, giving an indication of your energetic state, the balance or disharmony of the Qi (energy). Differential diagnosis focuses on the state of the Yin and Yang, the state of the blood and energy, and the state of the major organs. Immediately after surgery or an accident, a patient could have deficient qi and blood stagnation. A disharmony may pertain to a specific organ: the Liver, Heart, Kidney, Spleen, Lung, etc. In Oriental Medicine these terms describe a group of functions governed by the organ and do not necessarily relate to the specific anatomical organ. For example, the Spleen refers to digestion, among other things, and you have a TCM Spleen even if your anatomical spleen had been removed. Several books are available that discuss TCM diagnosis principles.
After an Oriental medical diagnosis is made, treatment with acupuncture, herbs, massage, and/or lifestyle changes can be prescribed. Acupncture treatments begin with the insertion of very fine (hair-like), sterile disposable needles. The vast majority of patients feel a tiny pinch or nothing at all on insertion -- very unlike the experience of a hypodermic needle. After the needles are inserted, you may feel a general relaxation, tingling, pressure, numbness, electricity, warmth, traveling sensation or a deep ache. These are all positive sensations, described as De qi. Once the feeling of Qi is obtained, endorphins are released from the brain, inducing a deep relaxed state. Many people fall asleep. The treatment lasts 25 to 45 minutes. Moxibustion may be used, a form of heat therapy using an herb called Mugwort (Artemisia) that is burned like incense near acupuncture points.
After the treatment:
After the treatment, you may feel slightly drowsy or light-headed. Some points may still be felt. This is normal.
NOTE:Do not plan anything strenuous or active after your treatment. Avoid taking a bath or hot-tub for 3 hours after your treatment.
Herbs come in various forms including teas that require up to an hour of preparation, pills, tinctures (alcohol-based extracts), granules, liniments, ointments and plasters. In my practice, I primarily use concentrated tablets and supplements.
What If I Am Sick?
Acupuncture is recommended if you are sick or coming down with something (even if you feel you are contagious). For any acute problems, whether respiratory, dermatological or gynecological, do not wait until your next scheduled appointment. I will either talk to you over the phone at no charge to advise you on home remedies, or prescribe herbs you can pick up at any time or schedule you for a treatment. If you are unsure, please call me.
If you have to cancel an appointment:
Please give a minimum of 24 hours notice. Except in cases of a medical emergency, missed appointments will be billed at full price. Please call as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements. Please be on time. If you know you will be late, please call. Every effort will be made to reschedule you for a later time. Note that fees for missed appointments may not be covered by insurance.