Should I get Acupuncture if I’m not injured or sick?

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The short answer is YES!

I was chatting with a guest at my daughter’s birthday party when they casually asked “I’m pretty healthy and have no complaints, why would I get acupuncture?” and it kind of caught me off guard. Having spent the last handful of years living and breathing Acupuncture & Integrative East Asian Medicine (EAM), I had to take a step back and remember that most of us grew up in a health and wellness system that is focused on treating something that is wrong rather than preventing something from going wrong in the first place.

So, why should you (or anyone) get periodic Integrative East Asian Medicine treatments if you do not have an injury or illness? Because it can help prevent injury and/or illness from occurring AND, when the inevitable does happen (this is life, after all), it can lessen the severity of symptoms and shorten recovery time.

I want to be clear here that I am not saying that you should be permanently beholden to getting weekly acupuncture if you’re perfectly healthy. I believe any acupuncturist worth seeing should be able to estimate the number and frequency of treatments necessary to reach and maintain your health goals. But just as we periodically get our hair trimmed (even when our hair isn’t sick or injured), having periodic acupuncture can help you maintain your health and possibly feel even better (and, honestly, who doesn’t feel great after a trim, even if it’s only 1/2 an inch?).

So now you know, acupuncture is great for you, whether or not your are sick or injured, and is a great way for you to maintain your health and stay healthy longer. Ready for some self-care? Book a 30 or 60-minute session. Interested in learning more about how we can work together, book a Complimentary 15-minute Consultation.

Be well.

What to Expect during your visit – Part 2 the Follow-Up Visit

Once I’ve had an Initial Visit with a patient (see this post for more information about Initial Visits), then we move to Follow-Up visits on an agreed-upon cadence that the patient has autonomy and control over.

What I love about Follow-Up visits is that they allow for deeper exploration and treatment for the chief concern as well as constitutional issues that may need to be addressed. I typically recommend a set-series of Follow-Up visits to address the patient’s initial chief concern and then we adjust as new things come up or we need to move into maintenance mode.

In a typical situation, I recommend anywhere from 4-6 weekly treatments to address the patient’s chief concern with an re-evaluation after the last visit. If the patient’s health goals have been met, I recommend moving to maintenance mode and seeing them anywhere from 2-3x/month. Keep in mind, if a patient wants to continue to come for treatment weekly, that’s totally fine. I encourage bodily autonomy and decision making in my patients. I provide these recommended treatment plans so that folks don’t feel like they’re going to be “stuck” doing acupuncture forever. We have a tangible goal we are working toward and we will check in after the last recommended treatment to see how close we are to that goal and re-evaluate.

Follow-Up visits are also a great opportunity to try different modalities that we may not have been able to get to during an Initial visit. For example, perhaps e-stim (connecting acupoints to a small machine which conducts a very small amount of electricity to activate the muscles in the area — kind of like a TENS machine but for acupuncture needles). Or maybe we focus on a cupping and TuiNa treatment to get blood and fascia moving to open up the back or hips. Sometimes Follow-Up visits are really about just settling down and getting back into the body. During those types of visits, I will place the needles and give my patient ample time to relax and sink into the experience of the channels opening up and the free flow of qi.

As you can see, Follow-Up visits are a great way to continue to explore how Integrative East Asian Medicine works to help you achieve your heath goals. If you have questions about Follow-Up visits or want to learn more, please feel free to schedule a Complimentary 15 minute Consultation so that we can answer your questions and see if working together is a good fit.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

What to expect during your visit – Part 1 the Initial Visit

Every patient relationship starts with an Initial Visit. These appointments are approximately 75 minutes, which is longer than Follow-Up visits, and allow for full discussion of the patient’s primary concern as well as exploring their overall health and constitution.

One of the things I love most about practicing Integrative East Asian Medicine is that I am able to look at the whole person, not just the symptom(s), to get to the root cause of the issue and provide sustained relief as opposed to a temporary fix.

During an Initial Visit, I discuss the patient’s chief concern and then ask a series of whole-body questions to get a sense of the patient’s constitution and any other factors that may be contributing to their chief concern. I then look at the patient’s tongue and feel their pulse — this information is so informative within the East Asian Medicine paradigm that some practitioners don’t even ask the patient’s chief concern, they only look at tongue/pulse and treat from there, it’s that accurate!

Once I’ve completed the intake and tongue & pulse, I check-in with the patient about the treatment modalities I plan to do that day, answer any questions, and have the patient get on the table. Depending on the chief concern and other information I gather during the intake, I may do acupuncture only or acupuncture + other modalities such as moxibustion, cupping, or even bodywork — every initial treatment is customized to the individual patient.

If I’m doing an acupuncture-only, or acupuncture-first treatment, I put in between 2 and 6 points that I like to call “settling in” points which are meant to help regulate the nervous system and encourage the patient’s body to be receptive to the work we’ll be doing. The patient will lay comfortably on the table for 5-10 minutes with this first set of points and when I return I may add more points customized to the patient’s chief concern and/or constitution, or I may pull the needles and do some moxibustion, bodywork, or cupping. Typically during an Initial Visit, the patient receives about 30 minutes of acupuncture and/or bodywork.

After the Initial Visit, the patient will receive a Recommended Treatment Plan via email which will outline my proposed treatment plan to address their chief concern. This plan includes herbal formulation, nutrition and lifestyle, and even exercise recommendations (as relevant). I like to provide these Recommended Treatment Plans so that patients can see how we can best work together to achieve their health goals. These plans are recommendations and patients are empowered to do as much, or as little, of the plan as they desire. I partner with my patients to reach their health goals, I am not a drill sergeant who will force them to make changes they’re not ready for yet.

If you have questions about how Initial Appointments work or want to learn more, feel free to book a Complimentary 15-minute Consultation. If this was helpful and you’re ready to schedule, you can book your Initial Appointment.

I look forward to seeing you soon!