What to Expect from Your First Acupuncture Appointment
Every acupuncture appointment can vary, and so much of the experience is based on that first meeting between the patient and the acupuncturist. That first visit is a great opportunity for you to decide if you are a good fit for each other. At this point, it’s important to be clear and upfront about your primary health concerns.
Here are some other things you should expect from your first appointment with Mighty River Wellness.
As an additional service, we offer easy-to-use online scheduling. If you do not see the appointment you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to email us. We have a cancellation list and can add you to the list or try to accommodate you.
Our office directions are here and in your patient paperwork.
Forms outlining our office policy and a few questions about your medical history are emailed before your appointment, to help you and our office prepare for your first visit. Try to complete these well before your appointment. It generally takes an office around 72 hours to verify insurance benefits. The sooner you fill out the insurance forms and health intake forms, the better. If there is further information we need to improve your experience, Jen will email you prior to your appointment.
If you have lab work, BBT charting or additional information you want to share before your appointment, please email it before your appointment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expect a lengthy talk about your health and don’t be surprised by some seemingly non-related questions. The practice of integrative health looks at every aspect of your life, so it is different from the medical system you are accustomed to. In the current American healthcare model, we go to the doctor if our arm falls off, or if there is green glowing fluid oozing out of our ears. We are trained to not use our health insurance, and see a doctor for an average of eight minutes It is my goal over the next few years to change this mentality and teach the patients I treat that our time together is about making your health the best it can be -- right now. With this approach, you can expect to enjoy a healthier future. We work as a team and I see this first meeting as the chance for us to strategize and outline goals and a timeline. Questions about the quality of your sleep, digestive health, urine, feces, stress levels and sexual function are all quite routine.
Examining your Tongue and Feeling your Pulse
I always tell patients that this part of the intake is like the speedometer on a car. I’m not going to stare at it while I drive down the road; it is a part of your health I take into account while looking out the windshield. These two techniques help round out your diagnosis, and have been a key element of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. In Chinese Medicine, the tongue serves as a representation of all the systems in the body and how they are functioning. It is important not to brush your tongue before your treatment, and to avoid any beverages or foods that could discolor the tongue body.
Your Acupuncture Treatment
Your treatment will consist of using fine needles to access the Qi of the meridians or channels of the body. I use other modalities such as moxibustion, cupping, and tuina (Chinese medical massage). We talk about how we will approach each treatment beforehand, so there will be no surprises. There may be slight discomfort when the needles are first inserted, but this this discomfort typically dissipates quickly.
The Finer Points
Most of the acupuncture points are located on the limbs below the knee, the hands and forearms. There will always be a gown available for you to change into, however if you prefer you can wear loose, comfortable clothing. We recommend you avoid scheduling an acupuncture visit wedged in between other urban engagements. This is your one time during the week to re-charge, shut down and enjoy the experience. Take a rest on the heated bed, enjoy the essential oils and diffusers, and meditate or fall asleep listening to the sound machine. Many patients head home and go straight to bed after their treatments, while others enjoy a leisurely day with loved ones. I had one patient who was so blissfully relaxed she almost forgot her pants!
Your Unique Experience
If this is your first acupuncture visit, you may feel eerily relaxed after your visit. Or you may feel like laughing or crying, particularly if you are going through a challenging time in your life. Like so much of Chinese Medicine, everyone responds differently. There may be a bruise at some of the acupuncture points, or marks where the cups where applied. These are all normal.
Herbal Formulas, Supplements and Dietary Recommendations
In order to improve the results of the acupuncture treatment, I will generally recommend a Chinese formula or supplements. It is important that you understand any instructions about dosage and what you are taking. If you ask, I always take notes for you during your treatment about what we discuss. I am more than happy to print the notes out at the end of the visit or email them to you. Your understanding and compliancy is the key to our success.
I always talk about a treatment schedule during a patient’s first visit. If you are responding well to the acupuncture, we will talk about moving to more of a maintenance schedule. If you are not showing signs of improvement, we will discuss moving treatments to twice a week or referrals to other providers. This is particularly important with fertility patients, when sperm and egg quality are of the utmost importance and we are up against time. Jen and I are always an email away if you have questions.