What to Expect
- Initial Assessment
- What to Expect After Treatment
- Side Effects
- Course of Treatment
- Preparing for Your Treatment
Your first visit will begin with an in-depth assessment of your condition and an initial treatment. The intake and treatment will take one to one and a half hours. All follow-up treatments last one hour.
During the assessment, you may be asked about things that you might not think are connected to your chief complaint, such as your digestion, energy level, emotions, sleeping patterns, and eating habits. Chinese medicine considers the whole person, not just one isolated symptom. When put together, the myriad of symptoms and signs you are experiencing reveal patterns of disharmony. Although treatment will focus on your chief complaint, your entire constitution must be considered in order to develop the most appropriate course of treatment. Chinese medicine is unique in that it recognises that symptoms may be identical, but the persons suffering from them are individuals and may have different root causes.
Needles are typically retained for about 30 to 45 minutes. Soothing music will be played to help you relax during this time. The experience is so relaxing that many people even fall asleep during treatment! In addition to acupuncture, treatments may also include heat therapy, moxibustion, cupping, tuina massage, plum blossom, guasha, herbal prescriptions, and diet and lifestyle suggestions.
What to Expect After Treatment
Your relief may be immediate, delayed for a few hours, or even develop after one to three days. The relief my last for a few hours on the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment, or relief may last from the first treatment until your next visit. Individual response to treatment varies. It is important to understand that one should give acupuncture at least 4-5 treatments before we can conclude whether acupuncture is going to help your condition. The majority of patients will start to notice benefits after the very first treatment but sometimes it takes a short series of treatments in order to get the pain and inflammation under control and start to see results.
Side effects are rare, but may include feeling light headed, dizziness, fainting, sleepiness, euphoria, nausea, slight bruising, or residual muscle aches and pain. Any of these side effects should only last a short time and are temporary. Eating something a few hours before a treatment and staying hydrated afterwards will help to minimise these side effects. Taking it easy and resting after your treatment is also helpful in giving your body a chance to heal. Any side effects should be reported at your next visit.
On rare occasions, one's original symptoms may briefly get worse, or "flare-up," after a treatment. A flare-up typically occurs only after the very first treatment or two. This response is similar to other manual therapies like chiropractic, massage, or PT. You may feel a bit more sore and achy later that day but should feel a lot better by the next morning. During future treatments the intensity of the acupuncture will be adjusted to avoid further aggravations or flare ups. In the long run, acupuncture does not make your symptoms worse.
In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur. For example, if you have a cold, acupuncture will not get rid of the cold, but it can help accelerate the cold cycle so your body recovers faster. If you are fatigued and beginning to get a cold, acupuncture can help your body fight it off.
In cases of chronic pain, your original pain may improve and then unmask less obvious pain in the surrounding areas.
Course of Treatment
A general course of treatment is usually 10 to 12 visits. Ideally this would mean coming in 1 to 2 times a week. The affects of acupuncture tend to be cumulative so the more frequent the treatments, the quicker one heals. Treatment once a week is adequate but it may take twice as long to gain the desired affects. In China the standard protocol for patients is to receive acupuncture every day or every other day for one to three weeks.
Acute conditions usually only need one course of treatment or less. Chronic conditions usually take longer and may need multiple courses of treatment for up to six to twelve months. Coming in for a "checkup" or "tuneup" once every month or two is also recommended for preventative care. In ancient times the skill of a doctor was not valued by their ability to cure disease but by their ability to prevent it.
Preparing for Your Treatment
The following suggestions are provided to help you have a safe and relaxing experience with acupuncture. If you have any questions, please contact me prior to your first visit.
- Please bring a list of current medications you are taking, including any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and vitamins. I can make a photocopy for your file.
- Please bring any lab or medical reports relevant to your condition.
- Eat a light meal a few hours prior to your visit. Having low blood sugar increases the risk of nausea dizziness or fainting. At the same time, please do not overeat or eat any foods that cause your stomach to be upset (for example, rich, greasy, fried, or extremely spicy foods).
- Avoid alcohol on the day of your treatment. Acupuncture is generally not performed on intoxicated individuals. It is also not advisable to become intoxicated shortly after treatment.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Acupuncture points are located all over the body. Many of the acupuncture points that are commonly used are located between the wrists and elbows and the ankles and knees. You will be more comfortable if your clothing can be easily rolled up to your elbows and knees.
Serving all of Yamhill county since 2007, including Newberg, McMinnville, Sherwood, Dundee, Yamhill, Carlton, Dayton, Amity, and Sheridan