What to expect on your first visit
Expect your first visit to be a little longer than average treatments. The initial interview takes about thirty minutes. Filling out the New Patient Form ahead of time makes it go much smoother. The physical examination takes about twenty minutes, and most treatments take around forty minutes. So, plan on giving yourself ninety minutes for the first visit. From the second time on, it will be an hour long.
These questions are not only about your current problem, but also about your digestion, daily habits, sleep patterns, reproductive functions, and so on. We ask these questions to get a picture of you as a whole and to deduce the locations of imbalances.
Tongue, pulse, and palpitation
The next thing we emphasize is the physical examination (tongue, pulse, and palpation). You will be asked to stick out your tongue for us to observe – we won’t be looking into your throat, but will be examining the state of the tongue itself. When checking your pulse, we are not so much concerned with the pulse rate as with the quality of the pulse. Palpation is used to pinpoint problem areas and the exact location of acupuncture points.
The tongue is a representation of the organs. Each part of the tongue corresponds to an organ and we observe the color, indentation, and coating to get an idea about the condition of the organs. Some people feel like they have to clean the excess coating before the treatment, but please don’t; it gives us very important information about your organs and is a great measurement of improvement as we continue the treatment.
With the pulse taking, an acupuncturist uses three fingers on each radial artery. Again, each finger position represents a different organ, and we are examining the quality of the pulse related to each organ, as well as the overall pulse. The quality of the pulse gives us ideas about the conditions of the organs.
Palpation is also important when locating acupuncture points because the location of these points is sometimes different in each person. When an acupuncturist pokes around your arms or leg, he or she is looking for a point that is energetically reactive.
For more information on what to wear and what to expect from the treatment, please visit the individual services pages.