To begin treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) you will need to schedule an initial consultation with Kath Bartlett, MS, LAc to have your health condition assessed, make a TCM diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
The initial consultation begins with your medical history: inquiring about the symptoms regarding the chief complaint and continues on to review all the systems of the body and ‘shen’ (a Chinese word meaning ‘mind-spirit’). Bartlett will review pertinent medical records, including reports from previous doctors, x-rays, scans and lab results. While delving into the details of your state of heath and presenting symptoms, Bartlett will assess the life style issues of your emotional, work and family life, diet and exercise to see whether they play a role in your health condition.
Next, Bartlett will formulate a Chinese medical diagnosis of your condition and develop a treatment plan that includes the acupuncture point prescription, an herbal prescription, and any additional modalities needed, such as tui-na massage, electro acupuncture or dietary therapy. Bartlett will work with you to develop a treatment plan that works best for your lifestyle. She will explain your diagnosis and discuss prognosis, including the number and frequency of treatments that will be needed to resolve your condition.
The initial consultation takes about an hour. Acupuncture treatment will begin at a follow-up appointment, which can be made later that same week. For patients presenting with an acute, painful condition or those who travel a long distance to get to the clinic office, an acupuncture treatment can be scheduled the day of the initial consultation.
Your First Acupuncture Treatment
In addition to resolving pain and curing disease, acupuncture has the additional benefit of providing stress relief and inducing a state of deep relaxation. Patients find acupuncture treatments a pleasant break from the day when they are given an hour to relax and unwind.
Acupuncture treatments are usually performed while the patient lies on a massage table. The acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles into various locations on the body. Because the needles are so tiny, generally patients feel only a slight sensation upon insertion. Many patients don’t feel the needles at all.
Most of the points that are needled are on the torso and limbs, below the elbows and knees. The needles are typically retained for 20-25 minutes. Acupuncture produces an endorphin release, creating a pleasant, relaxed state of mind. Patients often fall asleep during the treatment.
Depending on your treatment plan, Bartlett may include Tui Na massage (Chinese massage techniques that activate acupuncture points and channels), or other Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) modalities, such as cupping or moxibustion. The entire procedure takes about an hour.
Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing to allow the acupuncturist easy access to the body. Some patients bring a tank top and shorts to change into for the treatment. Remember to eat prior to your treatment: Do Not come for acupuncture on an empty stomach.