The acupuncturist's goal is to understand the patterns of disease of the individual at the time of examination. Just like any medical doctor, an acupuncturist will assess your physical condition by identifying symptoms and uncovering your medical history and any external factors that may impact your health and well-being through an extended interview. Acupuncturists inspect your expressions, facial color, and body build. They observe the body, coating, moisture and mobility of the tongue. Practitioners will listen to respiration, speech characteristics, cough and even consider your body odors. They examine your pulses by feeling three different regions in each of your wrists. Each of the regions reflects the conditions of the heart, liver, the right and left kidney, lung and spleen. Additionally they will perform palpation techniques of various acupuncture channels and points, with the aim of discovering abnormal reactions that occur when disease appears in the body. Based upon all of the collected information, the acupuncturist will determine the stage to which the disease has developed, the location of the disease and the amount of the body's strength and resistance to fight the disease. The acupuncturist will then choose the acupuncture points as well as the techniques and methods, such as cupping and moxibustion, to be used in order to regulate and bring the body into balance.
Once the diagnosis is made, you lie down on a padded bed while hair-thin needles are inserted into the acupuncture points. Needles come in different lengths and widths, and are chosen according to the depth of the insertion. Depending upon the placement of the needles, you may lie face down or face up or on your side. The procedure should not be painful. Most people feel very peaceful and may even fall asleep. The needles are usually in place for 20-30 minutes. Each condition requires a different number of needles at various acupuncture points. A typical treatment usually requires between 4 and 20 needles. According to the nature of the problem being treated, 1 to 12 treatments are usually recommended. For example, certain neck pain may be treated with as little as one treatment, whereas, a bulging disc in the neck may take 6 treatments and some fertility related conditions may be treated in 8-12 sessions. Some chronic diseases, such as insulin resistance, diabetes, asthma, or fibromyalgia, require extended treatment plans. Each person is treated according to their individual needs. Your acupuncturist will be able to assess the approximate amount of treatments needed after your first visit.
For your first visit we encourage you to bring a trusted family member or friend along if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during your first appointment. Someone who accompanies you may be able help remember something that you missed or forgot, or they may help you think of additional questions or concerns.