Because Japanese-style acupuncture was my first experience but most of my training is in the Chinese tradition, my style of acupuncture is a mixture of both approaches. The first time you come into the office be prepared to answer many questions. Some questions will be about your chief concern(s) and some might leave you scratching your head wondering why they were necessary.
All of the questions are to develop a complete constitutional picture of you. Your constitutional picture is like a stew. Your chief concern(s) may be the carrots but you can’t have a stew without the other ingredients too. Each ingredient impacts all the other ingredients so if we’re going to try to balance the carrots with the other flavors we need to know about the whole stew! And just think how no two stews are ever exactly alike! That’s why acupuncture is geared towards treating the individual.
Just like when you visit other healthcare practitioners, when you receive acupuncture, your acupuncturist makes a diagnosis and then decides on a treatment plan. In part, this happens after your acupuncturist reads your tongue and pulse. 2,000-4,000 years ago there weren’t the tools that we have today to look inside the body, like an x-ray machine for example, but the early acupuncturists recognized a relationship between what the tongue looks like and what the pulse feels like and what is happening inside the body (as it is described by traditional Chinese medicine).
Once we have a treatment plan put together that’s where the needles and all the other acupuncture “tools” are used. Sometimes one visit is enough. Sometimes more are needed. Without trying to sound vague, it all depends on what is needing to be changed. Even if it is a longer, rather than a shorter process, you should begin to feel better sooner rather than later.
After the first visit and its many questions, the exam portion of following visits moves more quickly. I ask how you did after your last visit, how you are feeling today, has anything changed for you and are we still focusing on your original chief concern(s).
What we do in your treatments (for example needling and which points are chosen) may be the same or different from visit to visit. Communication is the key and I am always happy to answer questions. Your treatment may be a few minutes long or up to about an hour. I usually schedule about an hour in case we need that time.