Everything. OK, OK, that’s not a good answer. In modern medical practice, it’s a good go-to treatment for any kind of pain, stress, emotional issues, or those nagging issues where the doctor says nothing is wrong with you, but you just don’t feel well. Other complaints for which acupuncture is commonly used:
- Women’s health issues (fertility, irregular menses, PMS, menopause, etc.)
- Insomnia, low energy, fatigue, high blood pressure
- Digestive issues (IBS, diarrhea, acid reflux, indigestion, etc.)
- Cancer support (to help decrease the side effects of treatment)
- Stroke recovery
Acupuncture needles are really, really thin. About 20 of our needles can fit into the tip of a hypodermic needle (the needle you’re used to from your doctor). There can be a slight pinch when the needle pierces the skin, but once it’s in place, it’s painless. It’s so painless that kids are usually fine with it, and patients often fall asleep with their needles in place!
A standard acupuncture treatment consists of the following components:
- We’ll have a conversation about your main concern, as well as a brief discussion about how the rest of your body is functioning. If it’s your first appointment, this discussion will be more extensive than in follow-up appointments.
- I’ll look at your tongue and take your pulse at your wrist. Depending on your complaint, I might do orthopedic or other simple clinical tests.
- Based on our conversation and my observations, I will create a diagnosis and treatment plan for you.
- You’ll then get comfortable lying on the massage-type table, with minimal removal of clothing (depending on what we are working on), and I will gently insert about 5-20 needles into your body.
- You’ll rest with the needles in for about 30 minutes – during which time many patients fall asleep.
- Depending on your needs, I may perform additional therapeutic modalities during your treatment, such as cupping, moxa, light massage, or helping you perform an exercise / stretch.
- When I remove the needles, we’ll talk about your homework for the week (stretches, nutritional changes, exercise goals, etc.), and whether I want to prescribe herbal medicine for you.
While you probably won’t be all fixed on day one, most people get up from the table feeling significantly relaxed, and will often experience immediate improvement of any discomfort or mood issues.
A standard follow-up acupuncture treatment takes about 60 minutes. For your first appointment, though, you should expect a longer appointment: about 90-120 minutes.
First of all, get clear on what you want to work on – it will help drive the conversation so we will get better results. If you have any relevant lab results, or doctor’s reports, bring them with you. You want to eat a couple of hours before your appointment (light meal), and avoid caffeine. Wear loose fitting clothing, since the majority of needles go in below your knees and elbows. Additionally, if possible, it’s a good idea to arrive about ten minutes early to fill out initial paperwork.
Every patient is different in how they respond to acupuncture. For short-term complaints (e.g., recent injury to your back), about 3-5 treatments might solve your issue. For chronic complaints, usually 10-12 treatments are necessary.
Most patients come in once a week while addressing a specific complaint. This frequency can shift, however, depending upon your goals and your specific issue.
The tongue and pulse provide us with insight into what’s going on in your internal organs. Think of it as analogous to taking your temperature, blood pressure, and running basic lab tests. When looking at the tongue, we are assessing the shape, color, size, fur, moisture and other features. When we feel your pulse, we are assessing it for strength, size, depth, and other unique qualities.
Yes! Upon your request, I will collect your insurance information at your first appointment, and will check with your insurance company on whether your plan provides acupuncture benefits for your health-related issue. I bill as an out-of-network provider. Please note, I do not accept insurance for the first appointment.
Western Medicine is amazing! I am in awe of what MDs are able to achieve with cutting edge technology and medication. Similarly, I have found the majority of MDs to be open to the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (especially in SF). Often, acupuncture and Western Medicine can combine to create great effects for patients! If you are receiving multiple therapeutic modalities, the best practice is to make sure that each practitioner is aware of the other treatments. For example, if you’re taking medication to help you sleep, I don’t want to also give you herbs to help with sleep – because the effects will compound and you’ll end up feeling groggy and slow throughout your day. If it’s something that you’re interested in, I am happy to communicate directly with your treating physician to make sure that we are on the same page about moving you towards health.