What To Expect From Acupuncture


Expect a deeply relaxing time which you can use to quietly think, meditate or sleep. Expect moderate relief of your symptoms in the beginning and progressive relief of your symptoms over the next few days or weeks of treatment, depending upon how long you’ve had those symptoms. For your long-term health and life management, expect education and guidance in the principles of healthy living and healthy thinking.

What happens during a treatment session?

Your first visit will begin with an in-depth assessment of your condition and an initial treatment. The initial intake and treatment will take one and one half hours or possibly up to two hours. You may either arrive 20 minutes prior to your appointment time to fill out the intake forms, fill them out online, or print them from this website, fill them out as completely as possible and bring them with you.

All treatments after the first session also last one hour to one and one half hours. Please arrive at least five minutes early for all subsequent visits so that you can relax ahead of our session.  If you are more than 10 minutes late you will need to be rescheduled for a different appoint day and time.  

We begin each subsequent session with a review of the progress made since the last session. We make sure we’re on track and that our focus is appropriate to your current situation.

My needling technique is gentle and some clients feel almost nothing. Most clients usually feel a small pinch which disappears in moments. Clients experience different levels of sensitivity, so I work closely with you to make sure your experience is comfortable and positive.

I use the finest quality American, Japanese, and Chinese needles on the market. These needles are sterilized, single-use and disposable. Our approach is to use the fewest needles possible to achieve therapeutic results while ensuring that treatments are comprehensive and effective.

Depending upon your preferences and the conditions being treated, modalities consist of varying combinations of manipulation, massage, acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, acupuncture injection therapy, cupping, gua sha, and/or moxa. Needles are typically retained for between 20 and 40 minutes while you rest comfortably.

What is the experience like?

The psychological effect of acupuncture is to allow you to rest thereby allowing healing to take place. The result is an induced meditation like state of which you are in complete control. The sensation is almost always extremely pleasant and profoundly enjoyable. For many years, clients have told me that the state of consciousness that they reach during acupuncture sessions is one of the most satisfying experiences of their lives.

Most people who begin acupuncture and Chinese medicine are so satisfied with how they feel and how their health improves that they continue treatments once a month or once every couple of months to keep their health in top form. Those clients who see Chinese medicine practitioners in conjunction with their medical doctors and other healthcare professionals report their highest levels of satisfaction with Chinese medicine.

What should I expect after treatment?

Your relief may be immediate or delayed up to 48 hours. Relief may last for a few hours after the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment. The speed of your response to treatment varies depending upon the severity of the presenting symptoms, your internal reserves of strength and your unique sensibilities. Each time you receive an acupuncture treatment, your body should respond quicker and the results should last longer with the cumulative effects.

Side effects are occasional and mild and may include the following symptoms: light-headedness, sleepiness, euphoria, slight nausea, mild bruising, and residual muscle aching. Any of these should last only a short time. It is helpful to take it easy after your acupuncture session to allow the treatment to have its optimal effect.

On rare occasions symptoms may briefly get worse after a treatment. Sometimes a flare-up occurs later on the day of your treatment and may last for an hour or more and then improvement and relief follow. If the flare-up lasts longer than this, please call us anytime and I will explain exactly what is happening.

In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur. For example, if you have a cold or ‘flu, acupuncture can help destroy the pathogen attacking your respiratory system so that the natural course of the cold or ‘flu is shortened. If you are fatigued and have only recently been attacked by a pathogen, acupuncture can help your body strengthen its defensive capacity to ward it off. I can put together a unique formula for you based upon your specific symptoms to shorten the course of the cold. I can then create a separate formula based upon your constitution to build up your immune response to the incoming viral microbial or bacterial pathogens so that you’re less likely to get a cold or ‘flu in the future.

What are the side effects?

The best approach is to begin treatment as soon as possible after an illness or an injury occurs. The sooner you seek help, the easier the problem is to treat. For severe or longstanding problems, weekly treatments may be required for months in order to have a curative effect. Recoveries from a serious accident or a stroke fall into this category.

Once you and I decide upon a treatment plan, it is important to follow through. The more consistent you are, the better the likelihood of results. The effects of acupuncture and herbs are cumulative. After you are feeling better, I will likely recommend a few additional treatments at weekly to monthly intervals. This is referred to as “solidifying the constitution” in Chinese medicine. The goal is to further strengthen your body to prevent recurrence of the illness.

Once clients start feeling better, human nature makes it difficult to follow through with treatments. The physiology of healing requires a lot of energy. The body is most vulnerable following recovery from illness because it has expended much of its energy and internal resources in order to get better. It is therefore important to complete the job in order to prevent repeated or new illness.

How often should I come for treatment?

As part of your first visit, I will discuss with a proposed course of treatment. Since individuals and the conditions they present with vary, it may be difficult to state definitively at the time of your first visit how many treatments will be required. In general, acute conditions of recent onset only require 2 or 3 treatments. A nasty case of sinusitis with headache is a good example. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments to achieve sustained results. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and long-standing neck pain are examples of chronic conditions. With chronic conditions, I usually recommend an initial course of 3-5 treatments in order to make a better assessment of whether or not acupuncture will help the condition. Most people begin to experience results within the first two treatments. If there has been no response to the acupuncture after 4 – 6 treatments, acupuncture alone may not be adequate and other approaches should be considered.

Treatments may be scheduled two or three times a week for the first week or two weeks in the beginning to obtain optimal response. Treatments may then be scheduled once or twice a week for the next two or three weeks depending on the severity of the condition and the strength of your response. If you are not able to schedule appointments that frequently, we may decide together to keep progress going with Chinese herbs, supplements, dietary changes or exercise.

Acupuncture is extremely useful as a preventive medicine. Many of our clients see me once a month or once every two or three months for a “tune up” to keep the momentum going and for a strong immune system.