Just like at a Doctor’s office, you’ll have to fill out forms detailing your health.  All the little boxes you check off may appear seemingly unrelated, but to us, it forms a unique pattern used to create your diagnosis.   Additionally, if you have recent MRIs, X-rays and blood work please bring it, as it is interpreted differently in Chinese medicine than with your MD.

To save time, please download and complete all New Patient Forms before your first visit .

Many people are interested in acupuncture and they hear it works, but they usually think of needles.  Most people don’t like needles.  However, acupuncture is typically pain free.  The needles used are much finer than a hypodermic needle, which is the needle you get when you have your blood drawn or receive a shot.  In fact about 15 -20 acupuncture needles fit into 1 hypodermic needle.

Typically a patient will feel a tingling, numbness or a slight sensation at the site of insertion.  We call this obtaining a Patient’s Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’).

The most common response to acupuncture is relaxation and a sense of well being.

• Avoid coffee for at least two hours before your treatment.
• Your tongue and pulse will be checked, which is like an inner MRI into the body for acupuncturists. Coffee increases your heart rate and stains your tongue. Coffee is a stimulant. It has been shown to release norepinephrine and epinephrine, which kick your body into fight-or-flight mode. Acupuncture works to shift you away from that sympathetic (fight-or-flight) state and toward a parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) one, so coffee inhibits the process.
• Be sure to eat a light meal beforehand to avoid treatment on an empty stomach.
• Wear loose clothing
• The Acupuncturist will typically need access to below your elbows and knees. However, scrubs are provided in the clinic should you need to change.
• Do not scrap your tongue the night before a treatment. Tongue coating is an important diagnostic tool that Acupuncturist use to reveal digestive health, latent heat or cold, as well as to glance into the inner systems of the body.

Allow 1.5 hours for your first treatment.  During this initial visit, an assessment of your past and present health history will be analyzed, along with your lifestyle, nutrition, medications, and mental and physical health.  A custom diagnosis will be developed followed by a treatment.

  • Allow 45 min for follow up visits.

Typically chronic conditions (pain longer than 3 months, hormone balancing, stress and anxiety) will require 10-12 treatments. Noticeable pain reduction will often be felt after 1-2 treatments. The number of treatments varies depending on the severity and duration of the condition as well as the strength and constitution of the patient. In general, acute conditions may take just a few treatments while chronic conditions may take months to treat. However there are conditions that respond rapidly. I once treated a patient suffering with a stroke whose leg lifted from 20 degrees to almost 40 degrees in a single treatment.  Still, each patient is unique and may differ in their response.

Most patients, however, report feeling changes immediately after one acupuncture treatment. Weekly treatments are advised although some acute cases may require 2-3 treatments a week at the beginning of a course of treatment.

Acupuncture has a cumulative effect. Once symptoms improve and overall harmony and balance are reached, treatments are reduced to once every other week and eventually a few times a year to prevent reoccurrence.

After the completion of your first visit, the recommended length of treatment will be discussed with you.

  • Patients normally feel relaxed with a general improved sense of well being. You may feel tired or drowsy for a few hours if the experience is particularly strong. You may also experience a short-term flair-up of symptoms in the healing process. After a session, it is a good idea to sit quietly and relax. A gentle walk or very mild exercise can also be helpful. Avoid big meals, vigorous exercise, alcohol and stressful situations.

No, Chinese medicine encompasses many modalities for more information click here. There is nutrition consultation, Chinese herbs and joint manipulation to name just a few.  For severe internal disharmonies, however, acupuncture is recommended, as it works on a deeper level.

Acupuncture is safe, using sterile, single-use needles approved by the FDA.  Under California law, licensed Acupuncturists are considered primary care practitioners.  The first 1.5 years of our 4 year schooling is a lot like medical school.  We learn anatomy, chemistry, physiology, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical red flags- so rest assured we know when to refer out.