Nearly half of the initial 90-minute meeting will be spent getting to know you, via a process known in Chinese medicine as The Four Pillars. There will be a thorough interview where we will discuss your chief complaint, various aspects of your life-style, your medical history, and your family's medical history. But before a word is said, I will be evaluating all aspects of your body and behavior. Following the interview, I will "listen" to your pulse by palpating the radial artery on the wrist of each hand. I will also ask to see your tongue.
The purpose of all of this is two-fold. First, I need a clear picture of the your overall health status. What potential genetic issues are you expressing? What are your strengths, and weaknesses? Second, it's imperative that I determine the imbalance/s underlying your current signs and symptoms. Chinese medicine endeavors to treat root causes. When the root imbalance is corrected, the symptoms simply cease to exist. My job is to take all of the pieces of the puzzle that you provide, put them together according to the paradigms of Chinese medicine, and then build from that information a cohesive treatment plan.
Though I use distinctly Eastern approaches to evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment, I always strive to understand any diagnoses you may have been given by your conventional doctors. After our initial meeting I will do as much research as necessary to make sure I'm up-to-speed on your issues.
No two cases are alike. Two people with the same presenting issue, insomnia for example, will invariably have completely different underlying imbalances. As a result, each will require very different treatment approaches to successfully resolve the problem. A skilled practitioner must not only be able to discern these differences, he or she must also possess knowledge of and experience with many different treatment techniques. Still further, he or she must be capable of knowing what particular treatment is appropriate for the patient at that moment in time. As a patient's problem/s move closer to resolution, treatment must adapt to the changes in the patient's signs and symptoms.
Acupuncture treatments take place on a massage table, and require no more than an hour of your time. Treatments can be performed on the front of the body or back, depending on the specifics of your case. Once you're settled, I will insert anywhere from 10 to 25 hair-thin, single-use, surgical stainless steel needles into various acupuncture points on your body. There are 365 points, covering the entirety of the body, and the points used will depend upon your particular problem.
Needle insertion is nearly painless. Some feel a pinch. Others a pulling sensation, or a bit of an ache. Whatever the case, it quickly dissipates to the point of not even feeling the needles at all.
It’s quite common for patients to become very relaxed following needle insertion. Most then doze, or fall asleep completely.
The needles are removed after 25 minutes. Removal is painless. After all the needles are out, I will do a quick pulse re-check. You’ll then be free to go on your way.
It's not at all unusual for other, often older, issues to surface as a one's initial problem moves closer to resolution. Emerging issues could be physical, or psycho-emotional, or both. Whether or not to address these issues is up to you. But the emergence simply indicates that you're healing, that internal imbalances are being rectified, that you're ready to deal with whatever it is that's coming to the surface. It's definitely not something to fear. To the contrary, it is an opportunity for greater healing.
Perhaps the greatest strength of Chinese medicine is its focus on determining underlying cause. The disharmony, or imbalance, underlying any given patient's problem is called the Root. The symptoms themselves are called the Branch. A practitioner will use a patient's symptoms to guide them to the root problem. Once the root problem is resolved, the patient's symptoms simply cease to exist. But finding the root is often easier said than done, as effective diagnosis is considered the most difficult aspect of a practitioner's job.