On your first visit I will conduct an extensive interview of your condition and general health. Questions are tailored to the problem that you are presenting with. Some questions may seem irrelevant, such as – Do you catch colds easily? Do you have cold hands and feet? Do you bruise easily? Are there any foods you crave? Are you groggy in the mornings? Can you describe your stools? The answers to questions like these all weave together to create an overall pattern of health or disease.
Tongue and pulse is then assessed. Subtle variations in the pulses in the wrist provide a wealth of information about how the body is functioning. Sound of voice, the condition of the tongue, smell, overall appearance of face and skin, emotions-all are important indicators on the state of your body’s internal organs.
Lastly your abdominal region will be palpated (if indicated) again to assist in determining the underlying pathology. I will be looking for temperature variations, areas of tenderness, firmness and softness.
Once a diagnosis has been reached it is explained and discussed with the patient. A treatment plan is made which will not only involve needles but may include Chinese herbs, moxibustion, cupping, soft tissue mobilization, manipulation, exercise prescription and/or dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
The tiny thin needles are specifically designed to be virtually painless on entry into the skin. Once the practitioner reaches the acupuncture point the patient should experience a heavy or achy feeling. This is described as deqi in Chinese texts, or the obtaining of the qi. Some will cause a temporary zing, like a muscle spasm. However, within five minutes you should feel perfectly relaxed and comfortable. Often people will be so relaxed, they fall asleep.