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What to expect

The first appointment includes an extensive intake with a review of relevant medical history, tongue and pulse diagnosis and, if necessary, orthopedic testing. The treatment is then customized to your specific needs. Needles used in acupuncture treatments are sterile, individually packaged and vary in width and length. They are closer in width to a human hair than hypodermic needles used to administer shots. For example, the barrel of one hypodermic needle can fit as many as 18 acupuncture needles. Treatment can include any combination of acupuncture, moxibustion therapy, body work or guided meditation. Acupuncture treatment can be administered seated, laying facedown, face up or side lying. In some cases needles are removed and you may be asked to move into a different position for the second half of your treatment. Just as you change moment to moment, day to day, week to week, it is common for the acupuncture treatments to change over time to get the desired therapeutic affect.

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How many needles are inserted?

Generally an average of 12 but it can be as low as 1 and as many as 40 depending on technique, sensitivity or what is needed. Non-insertive techniques could also be used, meaning the needle is placed on the skin but doesn’t penetrate through the skin. This is commonly used in Japanese style acupuncture. 


How long is the treatment?

A patient can find themselves with needles inserted anywhere from 10-30 minutes. This depends on the style of acupuncture used and what is appropriate for the condition and the patient. 


What are the possible side effects of acupuncture?

The most common are bruising, light bleeding or tenderness in the area of needle insertion, light headedness or feeling tired after treatment. This doesn’t mean that treatment wasn't effective but these are phenomenons that can happen. 

How should I feel after my acupuncture treatment?

The most common experience patients report is feeling relaxed. Acupuncture impacts the nervous system, taking it from sympathetic (fight, flight, freeze) into parasympathetic (rest and digest). It is in this parasympathetic state that the body can focus on healing. You may also feel nothing until 24 hours pass while some patients require multiple treatments before experiencing results. It simply depends on the condition, how long it’s been around and what outside factors may be influencing the treatment. After your visit rest is recommended to allow the body to acclimate. Going into a stressful meeting, workout or event can shift the body out of the healing state.

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