By Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC
What does a session entail?
A first visit acupuncture treatment is 60 - 75 minutes. If you do not complete the online initial intake form please arrive 10-15 minutes early. During the initial consultation we will go over the confidential health history form which includes past health history, current state of health, and goals. From here you will get comfortable on a massage table or in a lounge chair (for community acupuncture) and will receive a 35 - 45 minute acupuncture treatment. Once the pins are in, you have the opportunity to focus on breath-work, meditate, or to even take a nap! Enjoy feeling restored, balanced, rejuvinated, less stressed, relaxed, and peaceful.
Follow-ups are approximately 50 minutes. The return consultation starts with a brief check-in followed by a 35 - 40 minute acupuncture treatment. The number of follow-ups required depends on your overall health state and how sensitive you are to acupuncture and bodywork. There are many factors that determine the rate of response to treatment, including age, blood flow in the circulatory system, how chronic or acute the condition is, nutritional and physical activity status, complimentary therapies, supplementation and medication, etc. Since acupuncture is cumulative medicine and works in a series of treatments, I will advise how many treatments you can expect to invest in following the initial consultation. For more information see notes below.
"Acupuncture is kind of like eating right or exercising.The people who get the best results from acupuncture are the ones who are willing to participate in the process."
To prepare for treatment wear loose clothing and make sure you have eaten something at least 3 hours prior to acupuncture. Do not arrive with a full stomach and avoid eating anything right before treatment unless you have blood sugar imbalances.
During and after an acupuncture consultation you can expect something similar to the following [Adapted from "Balance your Hormones Balance your Life" by Claudia Welch]:
Ask you questions about your main complaint, tracking progress, and set-backs.
Ask you questions about your lifestyle, diet, stress, and emotional state. Some questions might seem unrelated to your main complaint, but your answers will give insight into your constitution, current imbalances, and requirements. This is important because the same complaint can have many possible causes, and treating the cause can have a better long-term result than simply treating a symptom.
Take your pulse and look at your tongue. These are diagnostic tools that help to guide the elemental influences on your constitution, your organs, systems, and even mental or emotional states.
Palpation of meridians or parts of your body, such as the abdomen, to help determine the condition of the elements or organs, depending on the perspective of the individual practitioner.
A registered acupuncturist will likely treat with, recommend, or prescribe the following in addition to acupuncture; moxibustion; acupressure; tuina (Chinese massage); cupping; shi liao (diet therapy); self care guidance; or tai chi or qi gong practices.
How many pins will you use? 5 – 20, but this also varies depending on symptoms and constitution. And where are they placed? Common needled areas may include the limbs, abdomen or back, head, and ears.
You may be given homework, such as diet therapy guidelines, lifestyle suggestions, stretching, and/or acupressure.
If you're new to acupuncture it's recommended to schedule 1 - 2 treatments per week, or as recommended by your practitioner, for at least 6 - 10 treatments. This is because each treatment builds progress on the last. Waiting 2 - 3 weeks in between the beginning phases will derail progress. After the 6 - 10 treatments a re-assessment will determine whether you will require the continuation of weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or seasonal follow-ups.
After treatment it's recommended to take it easy, in other words don't engage in strenuous physical activity. Stay warm, drink warm fluids, and have an epsom salt bath in the evening before bed if you've received cupping.
Side effects include the "acu glow", increased mental clarity, better sleep, feelings of calm, and more! Less common side effects include minimal bleeding and bruising at an acupuncture point, minor pain and soreness, emotional release, and a healing reaction. A healing reaction or 'crisis' means you may feel worse before you feel better, and manifests in a variety of ways including fatigue. This means energies that have been stagnated, stuck, suppressed, or burried, are moving their way out layer by layer.
Keep mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for your acupuncturist to know so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you and your goal.
I’d be happy to guide you along! Please visit www.vcaspa.com to book online or call 250-590-4341. To learn more about my acupuncture practice, follow @hayley_stobbs on Instagram.
In health & happiness,
Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC