Before Each Visit
- Please wear loose-fitting clothes. This avoids the patient from being uncomfortable in tight clothes while lying down, makes the access to different areas of the body easier for both patient and practitioner. Blankets are provided if necessary, as well as to have the patient feel comfortable and secure, and proper draping practices will be used for the duration of the session.
- Eat a light meal or snack about an hour prior to treatment. Eating too much before treatment can leave the patient feeling too full and dulling the body’s senses as the body is still in the process of digestion. Not eating before treatment (more than 4 hours prior), the patient does not have enough energy from lack of nourishment which can lead to dizziness, light-head, feeling faint and may lead to a medical emergency if patient passes out.
- Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine at least two hours prior to treatment. This is to avoid having the stimulant overpower your treatment therapy, as it can dull the effectiveness of the treatment, give false readings in the practitioner’s diagnostic assessment, since coffee increases your heart rate and stains your tongue, and make you feel uncomfortable trying to relax and stay still.
These practices before treatment ensures the patient of an overall pleasant experience and effective treatment.
What To Expect
During the initial consultation, the practitioner will take a comprehensive health history by having you fill out a health history form. This provides a diagram of the overall state of the body, not just a particular symptom. After you get yourself situated in the treatment room, have your personal belongings set aside along with your communication devices set to either airplane mode, do-not-disturb mode, or power off mode. In doing so, it avoids any interuptions from the outside world for the time being, as well as a way to give you the control of creating and maintaining a “personal-time” space within your daily life.
The session will begin with learning more about your chief complaint, possibly more detail regarding your health history, if you are on any medication, and if you are under the supervision of other physicians. Next there may be questions about your sleeping patterns, digestive and urinary function, sexual function, emotional quality and basic level of stress are typical. Be prepared to disclose the frequency and quality of your urine, feces, and if you are a woman, your menstrual period. Rest assured that these questions are not meant to make you feel uncomfortable. Many conditions that manifest in a non-digestive/urinary/menstrual way (such as skin conditions) may have a basis in your basic digestive function or other apparently unrelated system.
The key to successfully integrating eastern medicine into your healthcare routine is through communication. Ask questions, share ideas, and learn more. The more you are accurate and honest in your answers within the interviewing process, the more you will know and begin to understand what is attributing to the conditions you are experiencing. It builds patient-practitioner rapport and strengthens your comfort level and trust knowing you are being cared for in your best interest as the patient.
The practitioner then uses the diagnostic tools of feeling your pulse, examining the tongue’s shape, color, and coat, sometimes palpating your abdomen, and possibly perform some additional physical examinations depending on your individual health needs. By using these unique assessment tools, the practitioner will be able to recommend a proper treatment plan to address your particular condition.
After an initial consultation about the problems you want to address, your practitioner will go over a plan of action and identify the areas to be worked on. You’ll get comfortable on a massage-like table, and will be engaged in the therapeutic modalities and treatment protocols that have been uniquely tailored to resolving the condition(s) and improving your quality of life. The initial visit takes about 85 minutes including treatment, and follow-up visits are about 55 minutes long.
After The Treatment Session
Everyone has their own unique reaction after a treatment session. Some people may feel super relaxed, some may feel hyper-alert and aware of what’s going on around them, and others may feel pretty much the same as usual. As long as you’re not feeling extreme pain as a result of a treatment gone awry, these are all normal reactions. The best thing to do is to go with the flow, and be in tune with how you’re feeling after your appointment. You should give yourself some time to relax, ground, and re-center yourself before driving or jumping straight into work or other duties. It is best to avoid strenuous activities and extreme weathered conditions for about 2-4 hours after treatment. Also, take note of how you feel in the days and weeks following your treatment, so that you can report back to your acupuncturist about what you felt worked well and areas that still need attention. The work of Eastern Medical treatment usually continues for several days after the treatment, as your body realigns around this “new information.”
How Many Treatments Do You Need?
The frequency and number of treatments differ from person to person. The practitioner will continually assess your progress and determine if there is any altering of the number/frequency of treatments needed depending on the progress of improvement of your condition. Some people experience dramatic relief in the first treatment. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, usually eight to ten visits in total. For complex or long-standing chronic conditions, one to two treatments per week for several months may be recommended. For preventative maintenance in relapse of persistent/chronic conditions, twice a month is suggested. For healthy individuals, once every month is suggested. Whether it is one course, or multiple courses of treatment, eastern medicine is a process that will help to stimulate positive and healthful changes in your body’s system.