What to Expect
The Acupuncture Session
The first session usually last two hours and typically includes an in-depth medical and personal history interview, an Oriental physical exam and the first treatment. Because this style of acupuncture treats the whole person, it’s important for the practitioner to understand a broad range of topics relating to the patient’s life, health and symptoms.
The first acupuncture treatment often includes an important clearing and balancing protocol. After that, treatments related to the patient’s unique energetic presentation and symptomology can begin. Follow-up treatments generally take about an hour.
Patients are asked to wear loose clothing, to avoid wearing makeup or strong fragrances at the clinic, and to refrain from drinking coffee or alcohol prior to and after the treatment. Robes are provided to women when acupuncture points are inaccessible around their clothing.
The clinic uses solid, sterile, disposal needles that are about the diameter of a cat’s whisker. When inserted into an acupuncture point, the needle contacts the patient’s Life Force, called Qi by the Chinese (pronounced “chee”), creating a sensation that could be described as a dull ache or grab, heaviness, heat, tingling or slight numbness. In this Five Element style of acupuncture, needles are generally inserted into the point, gently spun along their axes and removed; it is rare that needles are left in place over an extended time period. Moxa, a dried and ground form of the herb Artemesia vulgaris, is sometimes rolled into small cones, placed on the acupuncture point, lit with an incense stick and allowed to smolder in order to warm and engage the patient’s Qi more broadly.
A minimum number of points are carefully selected in order to encourage the free flow of Qi and the re-establishment of energetic harmony. Patients report feeling an increased sense of balance, centeredness and well-being after a Five Element acupuncture treatment. Often patients experience improvement in aspects of their lives that are seemingly unrelated to their original complaint - an important indicator that we are not a collection of parts but rather an integrated and non-reducible Bodymindspirit.