There are so many questions that people have about what will happen when they come in for an acupuncture session. Here are answers to some of the most common questions and concerns.
What is a session like?
A regular acupuncture session will last roughly 50 minutes (your first session will be around 80 minutes) and is broken up into a few segments.
- The intake, or ‘sharing’. In your first session this will be a longer process - often 20-30 minutes - as we talk about what you are experiencing and what you would like to improve. In subsequent sessions this will only last 5 - 15 minutes.
- Pulse-taking. After the intake you will take off your shoes and socks and get comfortable lying on the table. I will then take your pulse which helps with diagnosis and assessment. Your pulse tells me what is going on in your body - levels of Qi (lifeforce energy) and Blood, the quality of each, how the Qi and Blood are flowing through your body, if there are obstructions and where they are, and if there are any pathogenic factors. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
- Placing the needles. After I have felt the pulse, I will choose a few points - I use between 2 and 8 points at most - and place the needles. I will often explain why I am choosing the points and what those points will accomplish. The needles will stay in for about 30 minutes.
- Energy work. While the needles are in I will stay with you and do some energy work. This will look like me gently placing my hands on places like the soles of your feet or the back of your neck. You are invited to just close your eyes and bliss-out during this part. Occasionally I will check back on your pulse to make sure the changes we are looking for are happening. When your pulse feels like the changes we were looking for have been made, I will remove the needles.
- Arm and leg massage. At the end of the session I like to do a short arm and leg massage. This is not absolutely necessary, but I encourage you to try it - it feels really good!
- Debrief and next steps. Before you leave we will chat about your experience and any changes you feel. We will also talk about when we will meet again and things to do in the time between sessions.
How do I prepare for a session?
Before a session you want to eat a little food - not a lot. Blood sugar tends to drop a little during the session, so it is good to not have an empty stomach.
Come wearing loose clothing. We may have to pull trouser legs up to your knees, or shirt-sleeves to your elbow.
For your first session, make sure that you have completed the online paperwork, including the consents. I cannot treat you without the consent.
Also before your first session you may want to check with your insurance company to see what their reimbursement is and how to send in your claim. Acupuncture at Mill Creek Family Services is self-pay, but we will issue a Superbill (Medical Receipt) for your session, which you can then send in to your insurance company.
Do I have to disrobe?
Not usually. Most of the time you will wear loose-fitting normal clothes. However, if there is an area we need to access that your clothing will not allow - upper back, for instance, or if your pants are too tight to come up to your knee - I may have you remove that article. A drape will always be provided if you need to remove an article of clothing.
Do the needles hurt?
This is the most common question I get asked. The simple answer is ‘not really’. You may feel a ‘pinch’ when they are inserted, but that sensation goes away quickly. Rarely is there a point that hurts and keeps hurting. If that were to happen we would remove that needle. Keep in mind that the needles I use are thinner than a strand of hair.
Where do you put the needles?
This depends on the ailment presented. The vast majority of needles, however, are placed between the elbow and the hand, and between the knee and the foot.
Are the needles reused?
Absolutely not! Our needles are single use only. After they come out they are deposited in a secure sharps container.
What if I have more than one issue? Will I need a session for each?
We can treat multiple symptoms in each session.
Will one session be enough? If I have to keep coming, how many times will it be?
I have heard legends of the one-treatment-wonder. I have yet to experience this first-hand. When we work together we will be changing the way your body carries and expresses its energy. This can be seen like a habit. And breaking a habit takes repetition and reinforcement. Because of this I like to see clients more frequently in the beginning and taper off as the habit is replaced by the new way of being. While there is no such thing as a typical series of treatments, my clients tend to average between 7 and 10 sessions over a 2 to 3 month period.
Will I be alone in the room?
While the standard practice of acupuncture is to leave the patient to ‘rest’ with needles in, this is not my practice. Throughout the session I will stay with you in the room.
Can I bring someone into the room with me?
This is entirely your choice. I find that it is harder for the patient to relax with someone else in the room, and the partner is forced to watch a process that is on par with watching paint dry. But is you want or need moral support, by all means, bring someone in with you.
*For patients under the age of 18 a parent or guardian is required to be in the room with the patient for the whole session.*
What if I have a phobia of needles?
As I always say to people: “Nobody likes needles. And if you do, we have a whole different issue to treat!” If you are really scared of the needles I invite you to try watching one being inserted and then trying one before the session begins. It is often enough to experience how little you feel when a needle is placed. Occasionally I have people who truly cannot handle the needles, and for those few I do only energy work. However, ironically, acupuncture is exceptional at treating phobias - even of needles.
How will I feel after the session?
Peaceful and energized. As contradictory as that sounds, it is the most common description. Another is Blissed Out.
What should I do after the session? Can I go to my Power/Zumba/Hot Yoga class right after?
It is beneficial that you take a little time to let the peaceful effects of the session permeate you. Many clients hang out in the waiting room after and have a glass of water or a cup of tea. Life often dictates, however, that you must engage in activity directly after. Do try to make it as light as possible.
How long will the results last?
On average a first session result will last about 24-48 hours. Then the old way of being creeps back in. This is why clients benefit from being seen again soon after the first session - to prevent backsliding. As you progress, the results will become more and more permanent. In this way you will find that the old habit has been replaced by the new, healthier one in a way that is sustainable.
How much does acupuncture treatment cost?
Intake appointment (80-90 minutes): $125
Subsequent appointments (50-60 minutes): $110
*MCFS does not bill insurance for acupuncture treatment. We are happy to provide you with a detailed invoice that you may submit to your insurance carrier for possible reimbursement.
For more information about our Acupuncturist, Matthew Flesch, MS, LAc, EAMP, click HERE