Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do before a treatment?
Try not to have a big meal within an hour of your appointment, as the process of digestion will affect the pattern of your pulse. Also avoid alcohol and food or drinks that color your tongue. If you are in the habit of brushing or scraping your tongue, please refrain on the day of treatment as tongue coating is an important diagnostic tool.
What is a first visit like?
Your initial visit will last about two hours and will consist of a lengthy interview. I will have you fill out in advance a health history, which I will then use to ask specific information about your chief complaint. Different from western medicine, Chinese medicine looks at a patient holistically so there may be questions that may seem irrelevant to your case. However, illness may involve trauma, infection, emotions, environment, diet, stress and other pathogenic factors such as cold, heat or dampness. The intake interview will look at the way your body responds. I will look at your tongue; feel your pulse and your abdomen. These are all diagnostic procedures that were perfected by the Chinese over 2,000 years ago, long before x-rays and lab tests. After careful examination, a diagnosis and prognosis will be reached.
What kind of treatment will I receive?
Treatments will be different for each patient. I may use thin single-use disposable sterile needles that will be inserted in various places on your body (most will be below the knees and elbows on the extremities) to affect the flow of energy in your body. I also may use moxabustion or moxa, which is an herb that is used to heat a specific area of the body to affect the Qi or energy there. There are other modalities that may be used such as cupping, gua sha (a type of scraping), heat lamps, massage, pressballs (tiny silver or gold balls that are taped to your ear), magnets or electro-acupuncture. I may also give you dietary and exercise recommendations. I use both Chinese and Japanese styles of acupuncture and these include non-invasive (no needle) techniques. These can be used on children and needle sensitive individuals.
Your second and subsequent visits will be about 1 hour in length. I will do a much shorter interview and the rest of the time will be devoted to treatment. Usually you will be treated on the front and then I will ask you to turn over and I will treat your back. Patients do not have to disrobe completely, however, it may be necessary to access your legs and arms, abdomen and back, so I ask that you wear loose comfortable clothing. If you wear tight jeans, you will have to remove them and I have hospital gowns and sheets for draping so you are not exposed.
Does it hurt?
Most experiences with needles are of those used in blood tests and injections. Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to these, as they are much thinner and solid rather than hollow. When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often a tingling or a feeling of warmth.
How will I feel after acupuncture?
You will usually feel very relaxed after a treatment. Occasionally, you may experience an exacerbation or worsening of the symptoms that you are being treated for. That is a sign that the energy is moving and things will begin to get better. If you experience any discomfort after a treatment, please call me to see if it is normal. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me. I will be glad to answer any questions.
Should I tell my doctor?
If you are under a doctor’s care it makes sense to tell him/her about your acupuncture. The treatments may enable you to reduce or even stop taking a medication, but your doctor should be consulted regarding any change of prescription.