Each patient is a unique case, so treatments will vary from person to person, although I will usually utilize more than one therapy during a treatment session (acupuncture and heat, acupuncture and cupping, etc.) I like to keep the patient informed about my treatment approach before they even lay on the treatment table. Communication is key and it helps develop a good rapport.
Everybody responds to acupuncture differently, and it is difficult to talk about specific results/outcomes. Many conditions require a course of 6-10 treatments to address imbalances in the body. Some patients may respond well with fewer visits, while others may need a longer series. (This depends on the severity and the chronic nature of the chief complaint.) Because acupuncture treatments work on momentum, twice a week is twice as effective! Although this is not always feasible for patients, a steady course of treatments close together is still optimal.
Adult acupuncture - new patient evaluation: Allow 90 minutes for the initial meeting, which includes the intake process and treatment session with acupuncture needles and/or other therapies. The intake paper work and conversation helps me to understand your health picture, lifestyle, and specific goals. I will outline the course of treatment (length and frequency) and make recommendations for follow up and self-care strategies.
Adult follow up appointments: Subsequent appointments are 50 minutes and the intake process is quicker. I will be monitoring progress of symptoms and noting improvements in condition.
Pediatric acupuncture - new patient evaluation: Allow up to 60 minutes for the initial visit, which includes a review of intake paper work and current symptoms, followed by a session that may include some or all of the following therapies: shonishin, a specialized treatment method for infants and young children that uses specific tools; tuina massage; and moxa, a Chinese herb that is heated and used indirectly on regions of the body (especially beneficial for ear infections and digestive disturbances).
Pediatric follow up appointments: Subsequent appointments are 30 minutes, with a short intake and review of symptom progress.
Manual therapy-focused appointments: I offer patients 30 min. and 45 min. sessions utilizing cupping andtuina massage, a form of Chinese-style massage that can ease pain and stiffness. This style of massage focuses on increasing blood flow and improving mobility through repetitive massage techniques and stretching. I use acupuncture as well, specifically head and ear points.
Stop smoking protocol: Sessions are 40 minutes long with a short intake process followed by a withdrawal and relaxation protocol using ear and body acupuncture points.
Herbal medicine: An acute condition, such as a UTI or digestive upset, may warrant an immediate prescription, however I generally like to see how a patient responds to acupuncture first before recommending a course of herbs. I would also consider nutritional changes and supplements as part of the overall treatment plan, but this too depends on a patient's therapeutic progress (or lack thereof).
Herbal/nutritional consultations: The herbal consultations are 30-minute appointments that focus on treating specific conditions without using acupuncture; a brief intake and conversation helps pin point symptoms and clarifies the clinical diagnosis. For those considering nutritional/dietary changes, a 30-minute consultation will involve discussion of current dietary habits and ways to use food as a therapeutic tool to help improve digestion and meet the body's nutritional needs.
If you wish to learn more about Chinese medicine and the methods that practitioners utilize, take a look at the new patient handout.