Many people are unsure of what to expect from an acupuncture treatment. I hope this brief summary will help better prepare you and put you at ease. Every treatment will be a little different, but the basics will always be the same. You can generally expect your appointment to last about an hour. If possible try to eat about an hour before your appointment. Treatments are $80. Cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and most HSA (Health Savings Account) are accepted.
Blue Branches Acupuncture uses a cloud-based electronic medical records software. When you book your first appointment, you will receive a link to the patient portal. There you will be able to fill out three forms prior to your first visit. These forms include the intake forms about the nature of your visit, medical history and the HIPPA disclosure forms.
When you arrive for your first appointment, we will meet to discuss some of the things you indicated on your history as well as ask some other questions along the way. As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I am often very interested in things that may seem strange or unrelated to the reason for your visit. There will be questions about your sleep, your emotions and mood, your bowels, and whether you prefer hot or cold drinks. I will also want to look at your tongue and will take your pulse on both wrists.
TCM is a medicine built around pattern diagnosis and I am trained to gather information about how all of your organ systems are working and interacting with each other and from there determine your pattern diagnosis. The tongue and pulses are guides to the diagnosis as well, offering us images of what is happening internally. If you ask about what your TCM diagnosis is, the answer you receive will probably sound strange when you first hear it. Liver qi stagnation, Kidney yin deficiency, qi and blood stagnation are all common pattern diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is important to remember that the organs function differently in the TCM view than in the Western model. Hearing something like that doesn’t mean that there is a problem with, for example, your liver. It only means that today, the qi of your liver is stuck.
Once I have arrived at your pattern diagnosis, your acupuncture treatment will begin. If at all possible, it is best to wear comfortable and loose fitting clothing. If what you are wearing does not allow easy access to the areas needed for the treatment, you will be asked to change into a gown. Sometimes I will needle points on the abdomen and chest. Other times we may do a back treatment and almost always that will require you change into a gown.
Acupuncture needles are slightly thicker than an eyebrow hair and quite flexible. All the needles are single-use, sterile needles. Needle insertion is generally painless, although sometimes they will sting a little when inserted. If the stinging doesn’t go away quickly, please let me know so I can adjust the needle. Once all the needles are inserted, please refrain from movement. Moving with the needles in will often cause you pain and increases the risk of the needle getting bent. Needles are retained for 25-35 minutes. After the needles are removed, I may follow-up with additional treatment, such as Gua Sha or cupping, and possibly prescribe herbs.