If you have never had acupuncture before, the thought of being poked with needles may be a deterrent.
I dislike needles and getting my blood taken gives me serious hibbie jibbies. Even though I’m relatively squeamish around needles, here are three things about me:
I love acupuncture!
I love being an acupuncturist, and
I love receiving acupuncture treatments!
Dispelling Acupuncture Myths
There are two main myths I hear from my patients that I’m going to dispel right away:
1) “It’s going to hurt and I’m afraid of needles”
Acupuncture needles are incredibly fine… about the size of a human hair! While there is often pressure or a quick pinch with the insertion of the needle, that quickly passes. Some patients feel nothing at all, others may feel different sensations in the area around the needle, like heaviness.
40 acupuncture needles can fit into the opening tip of a 18-gauge hypodermic needle (the type commonly used for blood tests).
2) “I’m going to look like a pincushion!”
Benefit from treatment comes from a good diagnosis and selecting key spots to place the acupuncture treatment. More needles doesn’t necessarily make a better treatment and we can often create incredible benefits from around a dozen needles.
So, now that those myths are dispelled…
The Five Stages of Acupuncture Treatment
Here are 5 stages of a possible first acupuncture treatment at Local Health Integrative Clinic. Initial visits are 90 minutes long, and return visits are 60 minutes.
1) The Intake Form
The form is filled out before your first visit, it takes around 10 minutes to complete. It asks questions about the main reason(s) you are coming in for a treatment, as well as questions that will provide us with an overview of your health.
2) The Intake
We review your intake form with you, and ask thorough questions about your health. With Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we treat the whole person and each symptom paints a clearer picture of where imbalances in your body may be. After going through the questions, we ask to look at your tongue. This gives us information on which organs are under stress- giving us a deeper understanding of your constitution. Here is a picture of basic tongue diagnosis in TCM. For example, a red tip of the tongue could be connected to heart imbalances, which might show up as symptoms such as anxiety or palpitations.
We will also ask to feel your pulse. With pulse diagnosis we can feel which organs are being affected. Additionally, by reading a pulse, an acupuncturist may be able to detect a cold before it comes, tell if a woman is menstruating or even pregnant.
TCM is like a wonderful giant puzzle, once we have gathered all the pieces of your health, we discuss with you what organs are under stress, and help you understand why you may be feeling the way you do. We see a number of patients who say their blood test have all come back normal, but they are still not feeling well. Many patients greatly appreciate the insight of TCM and feel empowered by better understanding their health.
3) Receiving the Treatment
The acupuncturist will leave the room while you get ready. You may be asked to remove some article of clothing, but you will always remain appropriately covered with blankets and sheets. As your acupuncturist is preparing your treatment plan you will be able to relax in a room with soft lighting, peaceful music, and calming essential oils. We use around 5-20 needles depending on the patient. For some there is a feeling of the energy or qi arriving, which can feel like a tingling, a heaviness, a warmness. Some people feel nothing, some people feel a lot.
4) Relaxing during the treatment
You are left to rest with soft music for 20-30 minutes, many patients fall asleep. Some people feel like they are floating. You may be warmed by our healing infrared heat lamp. You are left with a bell, which you can ring at anytime if you have any concerns.
5) Post treatment
At the end of treatment, patients can feel very relaxed. Occasionally, as part of the healing process, patients may a little feel worse before they feel better. We recommend no exercise or physical activity after the treatment for at least 6 hours. We may share with you personalized treatment plans possibly including lifestyle and food recommendations based on your specific health concerns and constitution.
The number of treatments depends on your constitution and the severity and duration of what we are treating. You may need as little as 1-2 treatments, the average is 6 or 8, or you might need ongoing treatments. Ask us about our different acupuncture packages of 3, 6, or 10 treatments.
Meet Local Health Integrative Clinic’s incredible team of acupuncturists in Vancouver and book an appointment online!