During a visit
An initial visit lasts 1¼ to 2 hours and includes a health history, a brief physical exam, and an acupuncture treatment. Follow-up visits last approximately one hour for adults and 30 to 45 minutes for children.
During a treatment session, ten to twenty slender, pre-sterilized, single-use, stainless-steel needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points on the body and then left in place for 30 to 45 minutes. Some people feel almost no sensation with needle insertion; others may feel a pinch followed by tingling, heaviness, warmth, achiness, or an electrical sensation. Many patients who were previously afraid of needles find the treatments surprisingly relaxing and enjoyable. It is not uncommon to fall asleep!
Children are usually treated with a combination of acupuncture, acupressure, and pediatric tuina (Chinese medical massage).
After a treatment
It is not uncommon to feel a bit spacey or tired after a treatment or to notice currents of energy traveling throughout your body. Side-effects to treatment are rare and almost always mild when they do occur; these may include slight bruising at an insertion site.
Length of treatment
Treatment needs and responses vary with how severe and long-standing your health problem is, as well as your age. You can expect to need anywhere from two to three sessions to address an acute concern (for example, a sprained ankle, sinus infection, or bronchitis) to a number of months of treatment for a chronic, long-term condition. Initial results should be apparent within the first two to five visits.
Frequency of visits
Initially, most people will need to come once or possibly twice a week to get the maximum benefit from treatment. As your health condition stabilizes and begins to resolve, visits may be scheduled for every other week or less.
After an initial treatment series, many patients elect to continue monthly or seasonal “tune-up” visits for general health maintenance and preventive care. Others decide to use acupuncture on an “as-needed” basis and to schedule one appointment or several when they feel they need extra health support. Serious, chronic illnesses often respond best to on-going care.