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What to Expect

Even patients who have had acupuncture before are strongly encouraged to read on ...

 Do I Have to Believe in Acupuncture for It to Work? 

Not at all. Acupuncture has been used successfully on cats, dogs, horses, and other animals. These animal patients clearly don’t “believe” in acupuncture but do enjoy it and get better, nevertheless. That said, a positive attitude is always helpful. Within a couple of sessions, you will be able to tell if acupuncture works for you.

 Are Acupuncture Needles Sterile? 

Of course! These days, I only use single-use sterile disposable needles. Communication of disease through acupuncture has not been an issue in the US.
 

 Is There Medicine in Acupuncture Needles? 

Not regular acupuncture needles. That said, in addition to traditional acupuncture, I offer acupuncture point injection therapy, where I do inject vitamins and other natural substances into acupuncture points. But this may not be for everyone.

 

 Does Acupuncture Hurt? 

Disregard what you may have heard about acupuncture! Generally, there’s much less discomfort or pain involved here than most people think. Don’t confuse thin (only twice the diameter of a human hair) acupuncture needles with those used for drawing blood. The latter are thick and sharp … and hurt like hell!

 

I only use the finest (and expensive) Korean and Japanese needles, not the cheaper (rougher and longer) Chinese needles you can find in some acupuncture clinics. I promise … you’ll be fine.

 

 How Deep Do You Insert the Needles? 

That depends on the condition and, of course, your preference. Having been trained in different styles of acupuncture, I have settled on fairly shallow needle insertion with minimum needle stimulation. I find that I can achieve good results with this gentle technique.

 

 How Long is an Acupuncture Session? 

I have not found that keeping needles in for a long time produces better results. My acupuncture sessions last, give or take, under 30 minutes.

 How Should I Prepare for Acupuncture? 

Come well hydrated. I do not recommend treatments after a heavy meal, when hungry or extremely tired. Wear loose-fitting clothes that provide easy access to the treatment area. Avoid skin lotions or strong fragrances on the day of treatment. And most importantly, give yourself plenty of time to receive and “process” acupuncture.

Feel free to bring an emotional support person (a friend, significant other, spouse). I welcome observers. Please note that I do not employ assistants. It’s you and me in a rather small treatment studio. Having a chaperone (especially if you a female) is probably a good idea.

Plan on coming 10 minutes early to find parking and get to the third floor of our office building (the elevators are notoriously slow). If you happen to arrive late (more than 10 minutes), your appointment will have to be rescheduled (and yes, you forfeit the appointment deposit). Regardless of when you arrive, the visit must end on time in consideration of other patients.

 

 What Happens During the Session? 

I start with channel palpation – to determine the active acupuncture points. Your participation (feedback) is paramount. As I explore the points, you should be able to discern (or even point to) the tender ones. As a rule, the more out of balance a point (or a channel) is, the stronger the sensation. I may also use a point finder to check electrical skin resistance …. to confirm my findings.

 

Next, I will briefly apply cupping and/or infrared light to warm up the channels. If I feel that your tissue is sufficiently prepared, I may skip this step.

 

Finally, I will move on to needling. Close your eyes. Open your mind. Let energy flow!

 

 How Many Points Will You Use? 

Again, I believe that fewer is better: I prefer not to treat more than 12 points/needles in a session. It’s the choice of points, not the number, that matters!

 

 What Would I Feel? 

Initially, the needles cause a sensation of slight pressure, tingling or aching. After a couple of minutes, you should notice a warm relaxing feeling spreading throughout the body. Some 

patients describe it as a sense of peace and calm. Many even go into a light sleep – oftentimes before I am even done putting all the needles in!

 Will You Place the Needles at the Site of Pain/Problem? 

Not necessarily. Acupuncture works by stimulating neuroendocrine system. Or, using the TCM terminology, it regulates energy flow in the whole body. Whatever explanation you prefer, the point is that I can influence a “problem” area by placing needle some distance away, even on the opposite side of the body. A good illustration would be treating right-sided sciatica by using acupuncture points on the left ear. Yes, it gets quite tricky at times.

 

If you would like to learn more about the types of points I may treat, please read my blog post titled “Types of Acupuncture Points.”

 Unusual Reactions 

Some patients, instead of feeling relaxed, report a bit of restlessness during acupuncture. I even had people start sobbing. This usually happens in people who are chronically stressed-out. It’s sort of like the body is trying to release the pent-up “bad Qi.” Thankfully, the feeling does not last long: it is quickly replaced by calm peacefulness.

 

 What Would I Feel Afterwards? 

Some people feel energized, while others continue “floating in” relaxion throughout the day. Sensitive types may feel a bit spaced out or “buzzed.” To fully “process” acupuncture, I suggest that you take it easy for a few hours. Avoid over-exerting yourself. Drink fluids.

 

 Will I Be Sore After Acupuncture? 

Now, I want to be transparent here. We are all different. In some patients, acupuncture is known to stir things up a bit: their symptoms may get temporarily worse (for a day or two) before improving. That is, actually, a good thing: acupuncture is working.

 

You see, despite their miniature size, acupuncture needles are a powerful tool. Energy blocks –release. Muscles that for years have remained contracted – relax. Blood – starts flowing freely, feeding the tissues with nutrients and oxygen.

 

Some people may even experience (really, re-live) unprocessed trauma (physical or mental) of yesteryear. Here’s a common example. Back pain you might have experienced (and forgot about) years ago – say, after a car accident – suddenly comes back. It’s different for everyone. But you get the idea, right?

 

Think of a deep-tissue massage or a workout – both benefit you in the long run but could leave you a bit sore the morning after. Same with acupuncture. You’re on the right track. Acupuncture is working. Don’t quit now!

 

OK, OK. I didn’t mean to scare you off. These energy shifts don’t happen all the time and in all people. I see them sometimes in new patients. Once your body “learns” to process energy flows, you will have a more predictable response to treatment.

 After the First Visit 

Between two to three days after the visit, I like to follow up with my patients – to make sure they are doing better and answer any questions. Please rest assured that I will not use this opportunity to push for more visits. Remember: how often you come is entirely up to you.

 

Now that you are an existing patient in good standing, you can use our scheduling app to book another visit. That said, it’s always a good idea to give me a heads up (via email) before scheduling a visit: at times, the online calendar may not reflect my current availability correctly.

 How Many Treatments Will I Need? 

When targeting a particular issue, I prefer to treat patients once a week for about 4 to 6 weeks. As people improve and feel better, we switch to once every two weeks, then to once every three weeks, and so on.

 Will You Use the Same Points All the Time? 

No. My point selection varies from session to session. Naturally, as you progress, different acupuncture points become active. Also, most people have more than one health issue that they want to attend to. So, we will turn to different points and even different modalities each acupuncture session.

 Will I Have to Come Forever? 

Acute conditions rarely require more than 6 visits. What happens next is up to you.

 

I have patients who prefer to receive regular “tune-up” treatments once or twice a month … forever, that it. They like how acupuncture makes them feel and believe in its preventative qualities. It’s like getting a regular massage to them.

 

Others see me only on an “as-needed” basis – when something hurts or gets “out of whack”.

 

Whatever works for you, I am happy to accommodate your style. I do not make my clients “subscribe” to my services.

 

 Can You Guarantee the Results? 

Absolutely not! Healing is an inherently unpredictable and inexact process. Many experience rather dramatic results during the very first treatment. Others may need several treatments spread over several weeks. And yes, there are always “non-responders.” Everyone is different.

 

 Can I combine acupuncture with other therapies? 

With very few exceptions, absolutely! For example, many patients combine acupuncture and medications to control surgery-related pain. As a matter of fact, acupuncture lowers the need for conventional pain-killing drugs.

 What Other Services do You Offer? 

In addition to acupuncture, I offer many other general medical services, including:

Acupuncture point injection                                          $36

Vitamin booster injection                                                $36

Medication prescription                                                   $54

 

Please keep in mind that insurance may not cover these services. If you decide to add them to your acupuncture session, you will be required to pay at the time of service.

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