During your first appointment, you will have the opportunity to talk at length about your needs. Your first appointment will last approximately 1½ hours, and will include an extensive medical history, a physical examination, and an acupuncture treatment. The details of your consultation are strictly confidential.
Follow-up appointments last approximately 45 minutes. Each appointment begins with a brief talk - you may wish to report how you felt after your last treatment, give an update about your physical wellbeing, or discuss other ongoing issues in your life.
Changes can be dramatic or subtle. Some people notice rapid improvements of their symptoms, while others experience more gradual shifts in their wellbeing. In general, the more severe or long-standing a condition, the longer it will take to shift with treatment. Many people report increased relaxation, improved sleep, and a greater sense of wellbeing. Your progress will be monitored carefully.
Most people find that acupuncture needles are virtually painless. The needles are very thin and solid, and are made of high quality stainless steel, individually sterilized and pre-packaged. They are used for each treatment, and disposed of after use. Once the needle is inserted, patients generally report feeling a dull ache or a sensation of energy.
Moxa and Cupping
Sometimes moxa or cupping may be used to complement acupuncture. Moxa is a herb similar to mugwort which is burned over acupuncture points to warm them during treatment. Cupping involves the use of glass cups which create suction over an area of the skin to increase blood circulation in the area.
In certain cases it may be beneficial to use electro-acupuncture, which involves directing a gentle electric pulse through a pair of acupuncture needles. Patients report a subtle tingling or pulsing sensation, which is not uncomfortable. Several pairs of needles can be stimulated at the same time. Alternatively electrodes can be taped to the skin instead of needles - a procedure known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
Treatment for children unde the age of 5 involves a lighter needle technique, where the needles are inserted only momentarily and then removed right away. As with acupuncture for adults, it is generally painless. The child normally sits on their parent's lap and great effort is made to ensure that they have as comfortable an experience as possible.