What to Expect

Your First Visit

Your first visit consists of an in depth consultation and an initial treatment. This generally tends to take 90 minutes. Follow-up treatments take 60 minutes.

During the consultation, I’ll be asking lots of questions. We’ll begin by discussing your main complaint and then I’ll be asking about how each part of your body is working including your digestion, sleep, emotions, urination etc… These questions may seem strange as they don’t seem to be connected to your main complaint, but Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the whole person and not just one symptom. It is by looking at the whole body and all of its signs and symptoms, that we can determine the patterns of disharmony that underlie the main complaint.


Pulse and Tongue Diagnosis

As part of your intake, I will also check your tongue and pulses, using both wrists. By observing how the pulse feels in 6 different positions, I learn about what’s going on with each of the organ systems and the body as a whole. Some of the things I am looking at include: how wide is the pulse – is it more like angel hair pasta or fettuccine or somewhere in-between? How strong is the pulse – can I push through it easily or is it firm? How does the pulse feel under your fingers- like a guitar string, a rope, pearls in oil? By feeling the pulse, a practitioner can begin to understand each organ’s activity, strength, and deficiencies.

I will also look at your tongue (so please don’t brush it that morning). It’s quite amazing how much information can be learned from the tongue. I’ll be looking at it’s color- is it red, purple, pale or pink? At it’s shape- is it swollen, thin? At the coating on the tongue- is it thick or thin, yellow or white, or is there no tongue coat at all? For example, a very red tongue with a thick yellow greasy tongue coat suggests that there is phlegm and heat in the body- which could mean there is an infection.


Based on the information from the questions, the pulse and the tongue, it is now possible to make a diagnosis. In the diagnosis, we identify the patterns of disharmony and come up with a treatment plan to re-balance the body. This plan treats not only the main complaint but also the underlying in-balances associated with it. As a result, a person often sees overall changes in their body as well as the specific complaint after receiving acupuncture.


The First Treatment

Based on the diagnosis, the treatment plan may use from 4 to 12 needles. The needles are tiny, no thicker than a hair, and are sterile, single use. My needling technique is very gentle, and I work closely with my patients to make sure they feel comfortable and relaxed.

My approach is always to use the fewest needles possible to obtain therapeutic results. More is not always better with acupuncture. Choosing the most effective points and locating them precisely is more important to an effective treatment.

Needles are usually retained for about 30 minutes. I often play peaceful music to help you relax during this time. Many people even fall asleep.