How should I prepare for my first visit?
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Loose jeans, sweatpants or leggings are fine, skinny leg pants – not so much.
- If you don’t have time to download and fill out the intake paperwork on the homepage of this website, please come in 15 minutes before your initial appointment time to fill it out.
- Please make sure you have had at least a light snack within 3 hours of your appointment, it is not recommended to receive acupuncture on an empty stomach. It is also not recommended to receive treatment after a big meal.
- Please do not wear heavy perfumes or oils on the day of your appointment as the acupuncturist or other patients may be allergic to them.
- Although not always possible, you might want to make sure you have some time to relax after your treatment.
How long is an acupuncture/cupping session?
Both the clinic treatments and private treatments usually last about an hour, however if you need to be off the table by a particular time you can let us know ahead of time.
For first time patients it is a good idea to leave at least an hour and a half for your treatment as we need to do an initial intake interview before the treatment.
Do you treat children?
Yes, we treat children but require that you sign a consent form for them. Children often take to and respond to acupuncture very well. We recommend that you bring your child or children with you to observe your treatments at least once before their first treatment so that they see that the needles are not painful. Once they see you relax, they tend to be comfortable with the idea of receiving treatment.
Are the acupuncture needles sterile?
Yes. Acupuncture needles are sterilized, individually packaged and disposed of after each treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
This is determined on a case by case basis. For acute conditions you will usually need to come in for a short duration of treatments. For chronic, long-term issues it can take longer for the issue to improve greatly or resolve. During your first treatment we will discuss a recommended treatment plan with you.
Do you treat pregnant folks?
Yes, however if a person is in their first trimester we only treat them throughout the first trimester if they are an existing patient, otherwise they will have to wait until the second trimester.
Can I workout right after a treatment?
We don’t recommend doing any type of hard or rigorous workouts after your treatments until the next day.
Can I get treated while I am sick?
While you cannot come to the clinic when you are sick we offer herbal telehealth consultations with the option of curbside pickup or shipping of the herbs.
Why do you have a 10 minute cut off time, it seems unfair?
- In order for patients to enjoy the benefits of affordable acupuncture, we need to schedule people on a tight back to back schedule for the business model to stay affordable.
- It is for that reason that if you are late, you are actually taking time away from the patients after you. You are reducing the time that they actually get for treatment because we had to spend extra time with you.
- Patients after you may have to pick up children from school, have to get back to work or have a timed meter to get back to. If you come in late, you reduce the time they get to be on the table.
- Always plan to leave extra time for parking and traffic when you come for your appointments.
- If this policy we need to use to make this clinic run smoothly seems unfair to you then it may be best to seek treatment with a private acupuncturist who may have more flexibility within their schedule to accommodate lateness.
What are you sensing when you take my radial pulse?
The short answer:
We are feeling the integrity of the circulation of Qi and blood through the channels and organ systems of the body, this takes more time than the pulse taking of a western MD.
The long answer:
The radial pulse diagnosis that we use in Chinese medicine is a very complex system that has been developed for over two-thousand years. At different times in history pulses were also taken and compared with pulses at different locations of the body. The carotid artery(neck), descending aortic pulse (abdomen), the femoral artery (inner thigh),posterior tibial artery (inner ankle) and a branch of the temporal artery that can be felt at the temple were some of the more commonly used pulses for diagnosis.
Over time the changes in culture and rules regarding modesty narrowed the use of the pulse to the wrist. Practitioners of Chinese medicine had to become adept at feeling the status of the flow of Qi and blood in the body only at the radial pulse.
Why do you look at my tongue?
When we look at your tongue we are looking at the size, width, coating, coating color and moisture on the tongue. We also look at the veins underneath your tongue. This tells us about your body’s ability to digest food, its hormonal balance, the circulation of blood (under the tongue), and whether you have too much heat, cold or dampness in your body.
What is Qi?
Qi is generally described as “life force” Or “Vitality” but is often mistranslated as “energy”. It has a much broader application in the Chinese language. As most characters in the Chinese languages do not have one single definition because they change their meaning relative to other characters. There are multiple definitions of Qi in the Chinese language dictionary. In fact one of my teachers who is fluent in Mandarin spent ten plus minutes translating different definitions of Qi! So you see how difficult it may be to translate it into one word. Below I give an idea of how Qi is better translated in terms of its relationship to Chinese Medicine. It is also used in many different definitions of objects that have nothing directly to do with the human body.
A couple of basic examples of the myriad definitions of Qi:
Air, gas, vapor
Breath, spirit, morale
Angry or indignant
Smells or odors
For a more scientific explanation you can read an article by Yin Luo, who holds a PHD in physics and wrote an excellent in depth article explaining Qi and how it can be explained from a western scientific viewpoint: What Is Qi? Can We See Qi?
To get an even better idea I will give you the understanding of how Qi is used in relationship to the human body. Qi manifests on different levels of our anatomy and is defined by its structure and function.
The following are some descriptions of how Qi is understood and used in Chinese Medicine.
Wei Qi(defensive Qi)
The lightest form of Qi; its function is to provide the first line of defense in the body. In structure it is our skin, lungs, and nose. The integrity of our Wei Qi determines how well we fight off external pathogens such as colds and allergies. Sometimes when a person has a chronic internal pathogen that the body is unable to fight off, Wei Qi may try to solve this by moving internally where it is not meant to function and cause an autoimmune reaction because it inadvertently attacks the body as well.
On another level, the integrity of our Wei Qi can be dependent on how well we handle the external challenges of daily life, a person yelling at you or a sudden noise can be another form of external attack.
This is our secondary level of defense, in structure it is represents our blood, red blood cells, lymphatic system, hormones and most of our organs. In function it represents our second line of defense such as mucus, saliva, sweat, tears, stomach acids, and intestinal integrity.
Ying Qi is involved with our emotions and psyche and is responsible for storing them. In fact our spirit and mind (Shen) is said to reside in our heart and our blood. The implication here is that our mental-emotional state directly influences our health.
Jing Qi (ancestral Qi)
This is the life force we inherit from our ancestors. In structure it would be our DNA, bone marrow, brain and the body’s sexual secretions. In function it is the precursor to blood, similar to how marrow is responsible for the production of red blood cells in western physiology. It provides us with the drive and ambition to survive, it provides our youth, and is likened to a battery pack that has a finite shelf-life. How efficiently these batteries work is determined not only by the strength of the Jing Qi passed on by our ancestors but also how well we take care of ourselves. Stress, trauma, pain, and poor diet can all contribute to the premature loss of Jing.