Would You like to know what to expect?
First of all, NO, Acupuncture is not painful. The needles being used are tiny compared to syringes used in a doctor’s office. Most of the needles are the thickness of a human hair. You may feel various sensations with the needles inserted, but they are not painful. You may feel a momentary prick on the insertion, but it is barely noticeable. The process of a Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture treatment is a somewhat different than a physician visit. We may still take some vital signs, but our diagnostics are primarily based on a discussion or interview with the patient and our traditional examination methods. These examination methods include finding clues about health by looking at the patient’s eyes, tongue, complexion & posture. We also observe the patient pulse differently than Western doctors. We may also palpate areas of interest, especially with musculoskeletal issues. These methods allow us to have a holistic view of the person’s current health challenges, and we may map internal imbalances to treatment strategies that can offer relief to them.
After the initial interview & examination, the patient & practitioner set goals for the treatment, which might include various healing methods. Often, before Acupuncture treatment, Tui Na, Moxibustion, Cupping or Gua Sha is performed. Tui Na is an ancient Bodywork system that facilitate the same Chinese Medicine concepts. It allows for the body to relax & realign to allow for more potent Acupuncture treatment as well. The practitioner may choose one or multiple of these tools for the treatment. Treatment might change each visit, or may stay similar depending on the case.
Lose & comfortable clothing is most appropriate for treatments. Tui Na is done fully clothed, and we only expose body areas that we decide to treat. Most often short, tank tops, sports bras allow for enough access to the body to execute the treatment without the need to take clothes off. In case of the need for that, patients are professionally covered (draped) by towels or sheets like they would be during a massage therapy session for example. You may be asked to lie face down (prone) or face up (supine) on the treatment table, or you may do both during a treatment that involves both areas.
After all needles are inserted, which may be as few as just a handful, the practitioner leaves the room and let the patient relax while the needles do their jobs. It is likely & completely normal to fall asleep during this time. The patient is able to call the practitioner back in if there are any questions or concerns. Generally, needles are left in between 25 & 35 minutes. At that point, they are all removed & properly disposed. Needles are all single use & sterile. With all the needles out, the patient may report any noticeable changes or experiences, and we may feel your pulse again to see what immediately observable internal changes the treatment brought about, which can be a great feedback for future treatments. At this point, patient & the practitioner may discuss & decide on what future or ongoing treatment plan may work best along with any lifestyle advice or home remedies the patient may be interested in.