If you are new to acupuncture and are planning on visiting my office in Bellingham you may want to take a few minutes to read a little about what acupuncture is and perhaps answer some of your questions.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the process of using needles to stimulate the body’s innate healing ability. Imbalances are identified during the intake interview and points are chosen based on this information. These points enable the body to re-balance and encourage optimal function in order to stimulate repair and healing.
Will it hurt?
Not usually. The needles are about the size of a single strand of hair, this ensures the experience will be essentially painless.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, when done by a licensed acupuncturist. We are highly trained, must obtain a Master’s degree and pass National board exams before becoming licensed. The needles are high quality, sterile and single use. All of these factors make the entire experience very safe.
What can I expect at my first acupuncture treatment?
Your first visit will consist of filling out an intake form with questions regarding your health history (similar to a visit to an MD), and your chief complaint. I will feel your pulse and look at your tongue to assist with my diagnosis. I will be feeling the pulse for quality, strength and rhythm and the tongue shape, color and ‘coat’. These things give me a picture of your overall health and current state. The interview will include some questions you may not be used to answering for something like headaches or back pain. For instance I will almost always ask you about your sleep and bowel movements. This is because East Asian medicine looks at the state of the whole body in order to make a diagnosis.
After the intake I will have you on a treatment table. You may or may not need to change into a gown depending on the areas I need to needle. You may be surprised that needles are often placed far from the origin of difficulty. On average 10 needles may be used, sometimes more or less. Then you will be left to relax for approximately 20-30 minutes. Needles will then be removed and you will be free to continue your day.
What kinds of things can acupuncture treat?
Anything you go to a general practitioner can be treated with acupuncture. I treat colds, flu, pain, depression, hormonal issues, side effects related to cancer treatment, diabetes, high blood pressure. Chances are I can help and you can be assured that I will have no issue with saying if something is out of my scope of practice or requires immediate Western Medical intervention.
How many treatments will I need?
This varies, with an acute/new issue it may only take 1-3 treatments. Chronic issues may take longer. I will provide you with a best estimate after your first treatment.