What to Expect
On your first visit, Jason will begin the session with an in-depth assessment of your condition and then give you an initial acupuncture treatment. The intake and treatment may take up to one and a half hours. Typical treatments after the first visit last approximately 45 minutes.
During the in-depth assessment, I may ask you about some things that you might not think are connected to your chief complaint; for example, your emotions, sleeping patterns, and eating habits. Chinese medicine considers the whole person, not simply one isolated symptom. When put together, the myriad of symptoms and signs you are experiencing reveal the patterns of disharmony. Although treatment will focus on your chief complaint, your whole being must be considered in order to develop the most appropriate course. Chinese medicine is dynamic in that it appreciates that illnesses may be considered to be identical, but the persons suffering from them are unique individuals.
Pulse and Tongue Diagnosis
As part of an intake, viewing your tongue and feeling your pulse can provide a Chinese medicine practitioner with a great deal of information about your body. I will do this at the beginning of a session to help guide me to the most effective treatment for you.
My needling technique is very gentle, and my clients usually do not feel anything more than a sense of small “mosquito bites” which disappear in moments. Although people experience different levels of sensitivity, I work very closely with you to make sure your experience is comfortable and positive.
My approach is always to use the fewest needles possible to achieve therapeutic results. With acupuncture, using more needles does not always mean getting better results, but accurate selections of specific acupuncture points and placements are really the keys to achieving excellent results.
Needles are typically retained for about 20 minutes. I often play soothing music to help you relax during this time. Many people even fall asleep.
Results of Treatment
Your relief may be immediate, delayed for a few hours, or even develop after 1 to 3 days. The relief may last for a few hours after the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment; or relief may last from the first treatment until your next visit. It is important to recognize that as we are all individuals our responses to treatment will vary.
Side effects are rare but may include the following symptoms: a light-headed feeling, dizziness, sleepiness, euphoria, nausea, slight bruising, or residual muscle aching. Any of these should last only a very short time. It is helpful to take a short nap after an acupuncture treatment. To help reduce the risk of side effects, please read the section entitled “Preparing for a Visit.”
On rare occasions one’s original symptoms may breifly get worse or “flare-up” after a treatment. A flare-up typically occurs later on the day of your treatment and lasts only for an hour or so, and then improvement and relief follow. If the flare-up lasts longer than this, please call me and let me know. In the long run, acupuncture does not make symptoms worse.
In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur. For example, if you have a cold, acupuncture may not get rid of the cold, but can help accelerate the cold cycle so your body gets healthy sooner. If you are fatigued and starting to get a cold, acupuncture may help your body ward off the symptoms. There are also some excellent herbal formulas to help strengthen your system against approaching symptoms.
In cases of chronic pain, your original pain may improve and then unmask other less obvious pain in the surrounding area. Please report what has happened when you return so I can modify your treatment accordingly. I will also be interested in any change in your use of pain-killer medications as a result of treatment. Please be advised that changes in prescription medication require prior approval and strict monitoring by your family physician.
Course of Treatment
As part of your first visit, I will discuss with you a proposed course of treatment. Since individuals vary, it is difficult to state definitively at the time of your first visit how many treatments will be required. In general, acute conditions of recent onset may require only 2 or 3 treatments. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments to achieve sustained results. With chronic conditions I usually recommend an initial course of 3 to 5 treatments in order to make a better assessment of whether or not acupuncture will help the condition. Most clients begin to experience results within the first 2 treatments. If there has been no response to the acupuncture after 4 to 6 treatments, acupuncture will likely not work, and other modaliies should be considered.
The ideal approach to illness is to begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help, the easier the condition is to treat. For longstanding illnesses, weekly treatments may be required for several months in order to have a curative effect.
Once you initiate a healing process, it is important to follow through on treatments. The more consistent you are, the better the likelihood of positive results. The effects of acupuncture tend to be cumulative. After you are feeling better, I will likely recommend an additional few treatments. In Chinese medicine, this is referred to as “solidifying the constitution.” The goal is to further strengthen your body to prevent recurrence of the illness. Some clients, once they are feeling better, find it difficult to follow through with further treatments. Healing requires a great deal of energy. Your body is most vulnerable following recovery from illness because it has expended much of its energy and internal resources in order to get better. It is therefore important to have a few treatments in order to prevent a recurrence of the condition or a new illness. In general, when an illness recurs it is often more difficult to treat.