What to Expect in Acupuncture Treatments
Diagnosis and Treatment Techniques.
The first visit takes about a one and a half hours and combines
an in-depth interview, a physical examination, and a treatment.
Tracy will ask about your medical
and family history, lifestyle and various body system functioning
(sleep, appetite, etc.). The acupuncturist will also take your pulses
to help diagnose and get a baseline of physical signs.
With the patient
relaxing on the treatment table, the acupuncturist inserts very
fine needles, about the thickness of a hair, into specific
acupuncture points and/or applies moxibustion to the point. These
are the tools that the practitioner uses to release blocked
energy and reestablish balance. The response of the treatment is gaged by pulses
and other indicators. Then,
acupuncturist devises a treatment plan.
Subsequent office visits last about 45
minutes, since not much time needs to be spent on hisotry. Tracy will ask
for feedback from the
last visit, and she will take the pulses and other diagnostics again. Next, Tracy refines
the diagnosis, compares it to the previous diagnosis and treatment. Then, she repeats the
procedure mentioned for the first treatment.
(Brief article on What to Expect).
Number and Frequency of Treatments.
In some cases, two treatments per week may be required at first.
Usually one visit per week is sufficient until improvement has
been maintained. The treatments are then gradually spaced further
apart until there is need for only periodic check-ups. To
support the healing process the practitioner may request that the
patient modify his or her lifestyle.
The nature and severity of the patient's imbalance, how long
he or she has had it, as well as lifestyle factors that may be
impeding treatment, are all issues that affect the number and
frequency of treatments.
Pain Level. Some people would like
to try acupuncture but assume it will be painful. At Acupuncture in Evergreen,
we use Japanese acupuncture techniques. The needles
are solid, flexible and extremely fine
— much finer than those used for injections or drawing
blood. Some techniques do not require full penetration of the skin.
In these cases, patients report they do not feel the needle at all.
If needles are inserted, there may be some slight discomfort - the sensation
is often described as a dull ache - but the feeling is
generally acceptable and lasts only one or two seconds. The
finest quality stainless steel, pre-sterilized, disposable needles
Response to Treatment.
Reactions to treatment vary from person to person. Some people
will not see improvement in their main complaint right away, but
rather a change in their overall state of wellness. Others will
see improvement in their main complaint sooner. Still others may
experience a slight intensification of a particular symptom,
prior to the symptom disappearing. Sometimes changes are obvious,
and sometimes they are more subtle. Generally speaking, for cases where
symptoms have been present for a long time or are more severe
more visits may be required.
People frequently notice improved sleep, increased relaxation,
changes in appetite and bowel patterns, or an improved body
temperature. These are all positive signs of a better energy
balance, which if continued and supported, will lead to an
alleviation of the major symptoms. Because body, mind and spirit
are affected by acupuncture treatment, your acupuncturist will
spend a portion of each visit monitoring these changes.
Patient's role in treatment
enhancement. To gain maximum benefit from treatment you
must be an active partner in caring for yourself. Your
acupuncturist may work with you to make needed lifestyle changes.
Such changes may include getting adequate rest, nutrition, and
exercise and minimizing excessive use of sugar, alcohol, coffee,
tobaccoor other injurious habits.
Also, on the day of treatment it is best to:
- avoid eating a heavy meal just prior to, or immediately after
- avoid excessively hot or cold bathing on the day of
- avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic drinks prior to, or
immediately after treatment.
- if possible, plan your activities so that you have a little
rest or quiet time after treatment.
Continue regular doctor care.
Acupuncture may be used in conjunction with other care you are
receiving. Continue any medication exactly as prescribed by your
physician. After your treatments are proceeding, and if and when
it is appropriate, you may make arrangements with your physician
to reduce or stop your medication. If you have a medical
emergency, please contact your physician or an emergency service.
Please inform your acupuncturist of such occurences, as well as
all changes in your medical treatment.