During the initial examination, a detailed assessment will be done. Based on a thorough intake, a treatment plan will be devised and, perhaps, modified depending on the presentation in subsequent visits. To aid in diagnosis, the pulse will be palpated and the tongue will be examined. The type of pulse, corresponding to specific positions on the wrist, as well as the color, shape, cracks and coating on the tongue are noted. Questions concerning general health, ones not normally asked in routine Western examinations, are also discussed to differentiate a “pattern.”
Acupuncture is extremely safe. Sterilized stainless steel needles are individually packaged and disposed of after each insertion. Unlike hypodermic needles which are hollow with cone-shaped tips manufactured to disperse/remove tissue in order to allow the insertion or extraction of fluids, acupuncture needles are solid with sharp tips designed to penetrate quickly through the superficial layers of the skin to prevent nerve sensation. The diameter of a needle can be smaller than that of a hair. Where the acupuncture needle has been inserted, a vague numbness, heavy and/or dull sensation is experienced around the point or a distending sensation is felt along the meridian. This therapeutic response is called the “gaining of qi.” The depth of insertion of the needles varies depending on many factors, including the location of the acupuncture points and the desired outcome of the treatment. Whatever the depth, needle insertion nevertheless is relatively painless.
Pre-Acupuncture Treatment Instructions:
- Please eat within six hours of receiving treatment. Otherwise, a light snack is recommended. It is important you do not eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol right prior to treatment.
- Please allow adequate time for your appointment. Depending on the nature of the complaint, needles may be retained between 15 to 30 minutes and additional modalities may be used such as gua sha or cupping, thereby resulting in varying treatment periods.
- Please wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points. For example, if wearing pants, be sure they can be loosely rolled above the knee. It is not always necessary to disrobe. Depending on where the needles are placed, specific articles of clothing may need to be removed. It is advisable to wear undergarments since it is not always possible to cover the body completely.
- Please do not brush your tongue, if possible, the day of your exam and treatment. (For accurate diagnosis, it is important to examine your tongue.) Additionally, try to avoid beverages or hard candies which discolor the tongue.
- Please call the office if you think you are contracting a cold or flu prior to your scheduled treatment as the protocol for your treatment will have to be modified. (Chinese Medicine offers many herbal antibiotics effective against many microorganisms, i.e., viral, bacterial, fungal. It is best to take these supplements immediately on contracting any infection.)