If you've never had acupuncture before, the thought of making that first appointment can be intimidating. Most people have had more experience with Western-style doctor's appointments and can find them to be a nerve-wracking experience. In contrast, my primary goal for our acupuncture appointments is for you to feel at ease with me and comfortable with the experience that you are having.
At your first appointment I will take a detailed history, both medical and personal. You can tell me as much or as little as you like about any conditions or diagnoses that you have, what your primary physical or emotional concerns are, and any other treatments or medications you are using or have used in the past. I will be most interested in how you feel that your concerns are affecting your daily life. Feel free to tell me that you see a counselor or a medical specialist, or that you take a prescription medication. Western and Chinese medicine can work together successfully to improve well-being, and it is helpful for me to know about other medical treatments that you are using. Some of my questions may seem a bit unusual or repetitive, but this is because Chinese medicine looks at the relationships between different areas of the body in a more holistic way than Western medicine. As we discuss your concerns, I will do my best to make you feel comfortable. I take notes as we talk, and I may ask how you came to seek out acupuncture. If you like, we can also talk about the basic principles of Chinese medicine and how I think they apply to your specific situation.
When we both feel ready we can begin the acupuncture treatment. Feel free to ask to look at or hold one of my acupuncture needles. You will notice that they are very thin, and that all of the needles are single-use. I will have you lie down on my table and will begin to insert needles. In most cases you will not need to remove any clothing although wearing loose-fitting clothing will make treatment easier. Many acupuncture points are on the calves, wrists, and stomach, so I may move the edge of your shirt up, roll up your sleeves or pant legs, or move your waistband down. I will insert anywhere from 2-12 needles into specific points on your body, checking for feedback from you along the way. While needle insertion is not painless, it should not be too uncomfortable, and you can feel free to tell me if it is. Once the needles are in, I will step outside of the door and you will rest before I remove the needles. Many people find this relaxing and actually fall asleep during the resting time, while other people experience strong emotional reactions. Any reaction is normal and I will always be nearby during treatment to help you to process emotions if you would like.
Once the treatment has finished I will recommend a schedule for follow-up and we will set up our next appointment. I will give you some reading materials so that you can learn more about acupuncture if the treatment experience was new for you. I also give each new patient a copy of my journal so that you can begin to track your emotions, energy levels, and symptoms throughout your day.