So you ask, "What's the process when one comes for an acupuncture appointment?"
We all have our own style of presentation of course, but you will always find particular similarities regarding the tools we use, the peaceful ambience, and the interviewing dialogue and procedures. You will probably be fascinated by some of the things you hear and you will want to know more, so feel free to ask questions.
We will briefly go over what we may have talked about on the phone, and from there I will start asking more questions. Some of the questions sometimes don't seem to fit in or have any relevance. But they do from the perspective of Chinese medicine, as they begin to help in the assessment of possible related and underlying or developing signs and symptoms. This then further helps determine what the treatment plan will be. And with that, which acu-points will be used.
It can kind of be likened to putting a puzzle together, or like tending to a garden, and all the details and tools needed to support it and make it flourish. Or like I often tell people, it's like looking at a circuit board. One shortage or disconnect somewhere, is surely affecting something somewhere else.
There most often is no need to fully undress, and it is good to wear clothing that can comfortably be accommodated to where the needles will be placed. Arms, legs, abdomen, back, neck, are typical areas.
I almost always include auricular (ear) acupuncture also.
You will be asked to extend your tongue for just a few seconds, for observation. Your pulse will be felt. However, you might notice that there are three fingers resting along the standard pulse taking area, and that both wrists will be felt. A great deal of information is gathered with these two diagnostic methods. And sometimes there will be some palpating at certain areas like the abdomen or along a particular meridian.
By then, you will be laying on a nice comfortable massage table, and there will probably be some nice soothing music. I might immediately know what my treatment protocol will be, or I might stare at the floor for a minute, or say hmmm for a second. But don't worry, I'm just having further thought about something.
Then the very fine, solid, filiform needles will be put in place. You might feel an instantaneous little pinch now and then, or you might not feel a thing and not even be aware that you now have a few needles in. Then after a few minutes, you will probably feel very relaxed and maybe just float off into the alpha state, or you might have a nice little snooze with a few little snores. During your resting time, I will leave the room. Then I will come back in to remove the needless. We'll talk for a minute about how you feel and any other comments, and recommendations that might include herbal formulas or dietary suggestions, or other health care practitioners to see.
I do not work with insurance, or credit cards. I accept checks or cash. I only work by appointment, and I generally do not work weekends, or nights. An acupuncture session is basically about an hour from beginning to end. Do not smoke or drink alcohol before a treatment. Some practitioners suggest not eating anything before a treatment, but I do recommend having a little something to eat, especially if it's your first visit/treatment, or if you tend to have low blood pressure, and if you are on lots of medical drugs.