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What to Expect (From Your First Acupuncture Treatment)

A normal visit takes about one hour, (though your first visit may last up to 90 minutes), as the initial diagnosis requires a bit more time for a discussion of your overall health. All symptoms of the body are important to make an accurate diagnosis according to Traditional Chinese Medicine principals, so don't be surprised if the doctor asks you about bodily functions that seem unrelated to your main complaint.

With this in mind, Dr. Alex will meet with you privately to assess your particular needs. She will review with you your medical history and discuss what you want to achieve with each treatment. In Traditional Chinese Medicine practise, the pulse and tongue give surprisingly accurate information about the state of your internal organs, so Dr. Alex will also take your pulse and look at your tongue.

Once the doctor has made a diagnosis, you will be asked to lie on the treatment bed (massage table), either on your back or facing down.

It's a good idea to wear loose clothing, as the doctor will need access to your lower arms and legs, and possibly your shoulders and back, depending on your ailment. Completely disrobing, or wearing a hospital gown, is not required for any Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment.

Relaxing music will be playing during your session, and the lights will be dimmed to allow you to rest.

Generally, the needles are left in for 20 to 30 minutes. Most patients report feeling extremely relaxed during the treatment, and say it feels as though they are in a dreamy or meditative state. This tends to happen even if the treatment wasn't aimed at alleviating stress or anxiety, since the body always feels pleasure when its energy is flowing properly.

The doctor will make sure you are comfortable and then leave the room while you lie still and relax. She will check on you after about 5 minutes, but otherwise your peace will be uninterrupted.

If you have any worries about being alone, please let the doctor know and she can stay quietly beside you for the session. Let her know also if you would prefer more or less light, more or less music volume, more or less heat on the bed, if you'd like the door left open, or if you are uncomfortable in any way at all.

An acupuncture treatment should be a worry-free mini-holiday from your day-to-day stresses, so don't be afraid to ask for what you need.

The healing process of an acupuncture treatment continues after the session ends, usually for 24 to 48 hours. Pay attention to your body during this time, as you should notice shifts in pain intensity and increased relaxation and energy levels.

Patients generally report either feeling very sleepy after a treatment, or unusually energized, and neither of these feelings is a cause for concern.

Depending on the severity of your problem,and whether it started recently or is a chronic condition, you will need to see the doctor at least once a week for a number of weeks. Most problems take from 3-5 sessions to alleviate.

Once your main complaint has been taken care of, you may choose to continue receiving treatment once or twice a month, to maintain your health and energy, and to prevent future ailments.

It has been said that acupuncture is like yoga. You feel better after going only once, but the more you do it, the healthier you get, and the better you feel!

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