DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
This is the first question most people ask me. Although needles are used in acupuncture, they are quite flexible and are the width of 2-3 strands of hair. They are not hollow and do not have a cutting edge like hypodermic needles. To give you a better idea, 30 acupuncture needles can fit into the hole of a hypodermic needle. Treatments are relatively pain-free for the majority of patients. In fact, one of the most popular uses of acupuncture is to reduce chronic pain without the need for medication that can cause undesired side effects.
ARE THE NEEDLES SAFE?
Acupuncture as a medical practice is highly regulated in the U.S. Only single-use, sterilized, non-toxic, disposable acupuncture needles are used.
WHAT WILL MY FIRST SESSION BE LIKE?
The first consultation will generally take longer. You will be asked to fill out some paperwork. I will then conduct a comprehensive health intake, discuss health history, tongue and pulse diagnosis, before discussing a treatment plan that is tailored to your condition and health concerns. This is followed by the actual treatment.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY SESSION?
Always have something to eat within a few hours before your session and stay well hydrated. It is not advised to receive treatment on an empty stomach. As acupuncture speeds up blood circulation and metabolic processes in the body, some people might experience light-headedness if receiving treatment on an empty stomach. Please also do not consume any alcohol before acupuncture.
As part of the Chinese Medicine diagnosis process involves reading your tongue, do not brush your tongue the day before treatment, and avoid eating/ drinking food that might stain your tongue 2-4 hours before treatment (e.g. coffee, tea, red wine, blueberries). I also recommend patients to wear loosely fitted clothing for comfort, and access to certain acupuncture points on the torso, legs, and arms.
WHY DO I SOMETIMES FEEL HEAVINESS AT THE NEEDLE SITE DURING A TREATMENT?
There can be a slight 'Qi' sensation when the needles are manipulated. These sensations range from warmth, soreness, tingling, to brief heaviness in the area being needled. These are desired sensations as they indicate energy being stimulated and circulating in the meridians. Most patients describe these sensations as fleeting, followed by a deeply relaxing, euphoric state, induced by the endorphin and serotonin released during treatment.
WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO SEE A DIFFERENCE?
Responses to treatment are very individualized. Most patients see improvement within 1-6 sessions for more acute cases. It is important to know that acupuncture works cumulatively and we want to build on the progress; so it is best advised to not have treatments too far apart at the beginning. A general rule of thumb is that acute conditions require shorter course of treatments, while chronic conditions require longer course.
IS ACUPUNCTURE BENEFICIAL FOR ME IF I FEEL HEALTHY?
Absolutely! Many patients come in for regular maintenance treatments or "tune-ups" for preventative care, and to optimize metabolic function in the body. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Acupuncture is a powerful preventative modality to correct any subtle imbalance before physical symptoms begin to surface as diseases. Since treatments are generally relaxing, many patients find regular "tune-ups" beneficial for stress relief and an excellent self-care tactic.
HOW WILL I FEEL? AND WHAT SHOULD I DO POST ACUPUNCTURE TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF MY SESSION?
The majority of people feel great after an acupuncture session. You might experience what we acupuncturists refer to as the ‘acu-high” - a desired perk when the parasympathetic nervous system is being activated. I dedicated a whole article on the DOs and DON'Ts post-acupuncture, so you can make the most out of your treatment. Read it here.
WHAT IF I NEED TO CANCEL OR RESCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT?
We all know that work and life can require urgent attention from time to time. In order to be respectful to the provider and other patients, please contact me via phone, email or text if you need to reschedule or are running late. I have a strict 24-hours cancellation policy. A fee in the amount of $60 will be charged if the patient does not cancel 24 hours prior to the appointment. For last minute cancellation (within an hour of appointment time) or no-show, the full amount of the session will be charged.