It is my experience that most health problems will show improvement with a course of 5-6 treatments, or 8-10 for a very chronic, difficult conditions. There are three stages to the treatment process:
At the beginning we are focused on getting the first spark of improvement. Sometimes this requires 2 treatments a week for the first 1-2 weeks of treatment to gain enough momentum. At first improvement is often short lived as the body has to be re-trained to be in a healthier, more balanced state.
The middle stage is when we ride the momentum generated at the beginning to systematically reduce your symptoms. During this stage we usually treat once a week.
At the end we will begin spacing treatments further apart to make sure that the gains we made with the treatments hold.
In many cases acupuncture needles are as fine as hair and much smaller than sewing pins. They are mostly painless when inserted. You may not even feel the needle being inserted or you may experience feelings of tingling, pulling, aching, pinching, warmth or expanding around the point. Any sensations you experience are short lived and will subside after a few moments. Acupuncture is not meant to be painful and needles that are too uncomfortable can be removed or adjusted.
Before beginning treatment, we will have a conversation about your condition and find out what you would like to focus on during the treatment. I will ask about your health history and find out about things like sleep patterns, energy levels, the history of your chief complaint and things that make your symptoms worse or better.
Next I will explain the acupuncture process to you and give you my assessment of the imbalances that are creating your symptoms and how we will treat them.
Once it’s time to do acupuncture, very fine, single-use, sterile needles will be inserted into points on your body. Generally anywhere from 5 to 20 acupuncture points are used at one time and treatments last between 30-50 minutes.
This depends on what you are receiving treatment for. Many conditions can be treated while you remain dressed by using points on your arms, hands, legs and feet. If you need treatment for your hips or back, you may need to take off some of your clothes but you will be provided with a drape to cover up with, and only the area needing to be treated will be exposed.
You can expect to feel very relaxed and refreshed after your treatments. I always say that relaxation is a side-effect of acupuncture. You may want to allow yourself some down time after your treatment to ride this wave of ‘acu-bliss’ for a little while.
In rare cases you may experience a flare-up of your symptoms for a few hours to a day after treatment. This is your body’s response to the stimulus received during acupuncture as it attempts to shift and adjust. Once the flare-up stops, you should notice improvement in your symptoms.