What to Expect on your First Visit
Your first appointment will last 1 ½ to 2 hours, during which we will do a complete intake as well as a full treatment. Subsequent sessions take about an hour. The intake from the first session will cover all the specifics of your primary complaint(s), plus many things that you may not associate with your condition. For example, if you come in for back pain, we will ask about the cause, duration, site, intensity, quality, etc. of the pain, and we may also ask about your energy level, sleep habits, digestion, and many other areas. This thorough intake guides us to understand the root causes of your specific ailments and in which context your complaint was able to arise in the first place.
After the intake, we will then take your pulse on both wrists, look at your tongue, and palpate different body regions in order to make a complete diagnosis. Based upon all these findings, we will then recommend a course of treatment for you. It may involve only acupuncture or herbs, but most likely it will be a custom-tailored mix of acupuncture, dietary and lifestyle changes, self-massage, and CHM—whatever it takes for you to make the most progress in the least amount of time. In specific cases, we may suggest you seek western medical care for further evaluation.
If you are having acupuncture treatment, you will be asked lie down on a comfortable treatment table. After a careful series of acupuncture point examinations, your practitioner will insert some needles into the appropriate points. The needles are sterile, disposable, and, more often than not, are far smaller than what our patients had imagined. Our acupuncture practice is mainly based upon a Japanese style, which emphasizes very gentle techniques. Often, patients are surprised that they feel immediate improvements in their physical pain or emotional state. Usually, the needles are retained for 20-40 minutes, during which patients fall into a deep state of relaxation (or they fall asleep!).
When the treatment is complete, you may be given some homework, which may include some simple exercises, self-massage, or acupressure. If needed, you will be given herbal medicine or dietary supplements and instructed on their use.