What to Expect
Acupuncture sometimes produces immediate relief from symptoms. More commonly, patients will experience improvement after a number of treatments.
Acupuncture is very relaxing. Treatments take about 40 to 50 minutes while lying on a comfortable massage table in a private room. There are medical gowns and boxers if needed.
The acupuncture needles used are very thin to minimize discomfort. The acupuncture points used most often are on the lower arms and legs, back and abdomen.
The points are chosen according to the symptoms and the diagnosis. Once the needles are inserted, they may be left in place for approximately 25 minutes, and one of several techniques may be used to stimulate the needles, such as electric-stim, or manual manipulation of the needles.
Occasionally, cupping is used to treat virus as well as joint pain and muscle spasm. Glass, bamboo or plastic cups may be used. A vacuum is created in the cup with either flame or mechanical suction. Once in place, the cups are left on for a few minutes.
Herbal formulas, nutritional supplements, exercise and diet are often essential compliments to acupuncture. Patients are typically prescribed herbs to be taken daily and dietary changes, self massage, or exercise may also be encouraged to support the healing process.
Scheduling Your Visits
The effects of acupuncture treatment are cumulative and to optimize the results treatments should to be performed at close intervals, especially in the beginning.
An ideal format is to schedule the first four to six visits bi-weekly. After that, treatments are done once a week or once every two weeks.
A course of treatment may last several weeks for acute conditions or many months for chronic ones. The Chinese have a saying, ‘that for each year of illness, one month of treatment’.
Rarely, after the first or second treatment a patient may experience a temporary aggravation of symptoms. This reaction may happen when there is a condition with a lot of congestion in the channels present before the treatment. It is not common and is often followed by rapid improvement.
Before acupuncture treatment it is best to have something to eat. For an hour before and after treatment it is recommended to avoid hot baths and strenuous exercise.