FAQ - Visit Preparation

Your Part - Preparing for Your Acupuncture Appointment

By Eileen Karn L.Ac.

In this section you will find information on your role in the healing process. The more you become involved with your health and responsible for your body, the better you will feel.

Before Your First Visit

Spend some time thinking about what you would like to achieve from your acupuncture treatment. What are your expectations? What questions or concerns do you have about acupuncture? Jot down a few notes to bring with you to your first visit. The more openly we can communicate, the better I can help you and the more benefit you will receive.

Be realistic. If you have several conditions or symptoms you would like to address, please rank them. On your first visit to the clinic, I will ask you primarily about your chief complaint. Secondary issues will also be noted and addressed as treatment progresses.

On the Day of Your Appointment

The following suggestions are provided to help you have a safe and relaxing experience with acupuncture.

Acupuncture is not performed on individuals who are fasting. Being over-hungry increases the risk of nausea or dizziness. At the same time, please do not overeat or eat any foods that cause your stomach to be upset (for example, rich, greasy, fried, or extremely spicy foods).

Be on time for your appointment so that you may benefit fully. When you make an appointment, please understand that time has been reserved for you. There will be a charge for missed appointments without 24 hours notice.

Fees

The initial acupuncture visit including evaluation and treatment is $190. Follow-up sessions are $135. Initial herbal medicine evaluations are $140; follow-ups are $95. A complete schedule of fees is available upon request. Payment is accepted by cash, check or credit card.

 

FAQ – What to Expect
What to Expect From Acupuncture

By Eileen Karn L.Ac.

Your first acupuncture visit will begin with an in depth assessment of your condition and an initial treatment. The intake and treatment may take up to 1 1/2 hours. A typical treatment afterwards last approximately 45 minutes.

During the assessment I may ask you about some things that you might not think are connected to your chief complaint, for example, your emotions, sleeping patterns, and eating habits. Chinese medicine considers the whole person, not just one isolated symptom. When put together, your collection of symptoms and signs reveal patterns of disharmony. Although treatment will focus on your chief complaint, your whole being must be considered in order to develop the most appropriate course of treatment. Chinese medicine is unique in that it appreciates that illnesses may be identical, but the persons suffering from them are individuals.

Pulse and Tongue Diagnosis

Viewing your tongue and feeling your pulse can provide me with a great deal of information about your body to help guide the treatment.

Treatment

My needling technique is very gentle, and my clients usually do not feel anything more than a small sensation, which disappears in moments. Although people experience different levels of sensitivity, I work very closely with you to make sure your experience is comfortable and positive. 

My approach is always to use the fewest needles possible to achieve therapeutic results. With acupuncture, more needles does not always mean better results, but accurate selection of specific acupuncture points and placement are really the keys to giving an excellent treatment. Once the needles are in place you will become deeply relaxed. Many people even fall asleep. 

What to Expect After Treatment

Your relief may be immediate, delayed for a few hours or be noticeable after 1 to 3 days. The relief may last for a few hours on the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment. OR, relief may last from the first treatment until your next visit. Individual response to treatment varies. 

Side Effects

Side effects are rare but may include the following symptoms: light-headed feeling, dizziness, sleepiness, euphoria, nausea, slight bruising, residual muscle aching. Any of these should last only a very short time. It is helpful to take a short nap after acupuncture. To help reduce the risk of side effects, please read the section entitled Visit Preparation. 

Flare-up

On rare occasions one's original symptoms may briefly get worse or 'flare-up' after a treatment. A flare-up typically occurs later on the day of your treatment and only for an hour or so and then improvement and relief follow. If the flare-up lasts longer than this, please call me and let me know. In the long run, acupuncture does not make symptoms worse. 
In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur. For example, if you have gave a cold, acupuncture will not get rid of the cold, but can help accelerate the cold cycle so your body gets healthy sooner. If you are fatigued and starting to get a cold, acupuncture may help your body ward it off. There are also some terrific herbal formulas for this. 

In cases of chronic pain, your original pain may improve and then unmask other less obvious pain in the surrounding area. Please report what happened when you return so I can modify your treatment accordingly. I will also be interested in any change in your use of pain-killer medications as a result of treatment. Please be advised that changes in prescription medication require prior approval and strict monitoring by your family physician. 

Course of Treatment

As part of your first visit, I will discuss with a proposed course of treatment. Since individuals vary, it is difficult to state definitively at the time of your first visit how many treatments will be required. In general, acute conditions of recent onset may only require 2 or 3 treatments. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments closer together, such as twice a week. With chronic conditions I usually recommend an initial course of 3-5 treatments in order to make a better assessment of whether or not acupuncture will help the condition. Most people begin to experience results within the first two treatments. If there has been no response to the acupuncture after 4 - 6 treatments, acupuncture will likely not work and other approaches should be considered.

The ideal approach to illness is to begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help, the easier it is to treat. For longstanding illnesses, weekly treatments may be required for several months in order to have a curative effect. 

Once you initiate a healing process, it is important to follow through on treatments. The more consistent you are, the greater the likelihood of results. The effects of acupuncture tend to be cumulative. After you are feeling better, I will likely recommend an additional few treatments. In Chinese medicine, this is referred to as "solidifying the constitution." The goal is to further strengthen your body to prevent recurrence of the illness. Once they are feeling better, many people do not follow through with strengthening treatments. Healing requires a lot of energy. Your body is vulnerable following recovery from illness because it has expended much of its energy and internal resources in order to get better. It is therefore important to have a few treatments in order to prevent repeated or new illness. In general, when an illness recurs it is often more difficult to treat.

 

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

How old is Chinese Medicine?

Chinese medicine goes back over 3,000 years

How does it work?

Chinese medicine uses tiny needles and herbs to nurture the body back to health by helping resolve energy imbalances.

What are the needles like?

Only sterile, disposable needles are used so there is no risk of infection. We use a needle once, then dispose of it. Acupuncture needles are small and hair-thin. They are solid, not hollow like needles used by medical doctors. The end of an acupuncture needle is smooth and rounded. Acupuncture needles are not designed to cut the skin. Instead, when an acupuncture needle is inserted, the round edge pushes the tissue aside without cutting it. 

US FDA Regulation of Acupuncture Needles 
In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the experimental status tag on acupuncture needles.The FDA reclassified acupuncture needles, regulating them as it does medical devices such as surgical scalpels and hypodermic syringes. Acupuncture needles must now be manufactured according to single-use standards of sterility. 

Does it hurt?

People experience needling differently. In my practice I use of variety of techniques based on the needs of the patient. During insertion, there is little to no pain. Some people have said the insertion gives a small sensation then quickly disappears. The majority of my patients never feel insertions. Most of the time I will try to activate the body's energy flow, or "Qi." The arrival of qi is also experienced differently. It has been described as a tingling, grabbing, pulling, heating or numbing sensation. Once the needles are in place and the treatment has begun, those feelings tend to subside and your mind and body relax.

I take great care to make my clients very comfortable so that they can relax while the needles are in place. The more you can relax during an acupuncture treatment, the better the results. Many people even fall asleep during treatment.
Following treatment it is common to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation and calm. 

Do I have to believe in it for it to work?

No. Acupuncture works whether or not you think it will. Acupuncture is even used successfully on animals who do not understand or believe in the process yet they get better anyway. A positive attitude helps with any type of therapy but it is not necessary to believe in acupuncture (or to feel it working) for it to be effective.

Since positive expectations and belief in a particular therapy help to increase therapeutic results, I encourage you to raise any concerns or doubts you may have about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I'd like to help you to better understand acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so that you may have the most positive healing experience possible. You are invited to contact me today, and I will personally respond to any questions or comments promptly.

Do you use herbs?

I am a certified Herbalist and use herbs regularly with patients. In some cases, herbs will be necessary to see sustained positive benefits. 

How do herbs differ from western medicine?

Chinese herbal formulas tend to be much gentler than western medicines, and work to not only help relieve symptoms, but to help return the body to balance and equilibrium. We often modify the herbs as treatment continues, since the body starts to shift towards being healthier, and therefore the herbs are modified to meet the changing needs of the body.

Can I take Chinese herbs when I am on medication?

It depends on the medications you are taking. This would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

How quickly can I expect to feel better?

In general, I tell my patients they should start to feel the benefits from acupuncture in 4-5 treatments. If the problem is acute, sometimes improvement is felt after 1 treatment, and may only need 3-5 treatments to resolve. If the problem is chronic and long term, it may take a many treatments to help resolve.

How often should I be treated?

Typically I treat patients once a week. If the condition is acute and painful, I may want to do treatments 2-3 times per week for the first couple of weeks. The benefits of acupuncture tend to remain longer the longer your have been receiving treatments. What typically happens is my patients need to see me less and less over time. Ideally, after a typically treatment course, patients return as necessary only for continued maintenance.

Does acupuncture always help?

No, but it usually does. If you do not feel any benefit after 4-6 treatments, then acupuncture may not work for you.

What should I wear for the treatment?<

Just wear loose fitting clothes that can be easily rolled up above your elbows and knees.