To allow us to spend more time in discussion and treatment,
please download, print out, and take your time to thoroughly
fill out the health-history forms and bring them with you to
your first appointment.
If you are unable to print out the forms, I can mail them to
you in advance or you can arrange to arrive fifteen minutes
early for your treatment and fill them out at the clinic.
To facilitate your treatment, please wear loose, comfortable
clothing that can be rolled back enough to expose your elbows
and knees. It's a good idea to have a light meal before acupuncture,
but try not to arrive uncomfortably full. Avoid consuming
alcohol before and immediately after your visit; likewise,
avoid strenuous exercise.
Please try to arrive a few minutes before your treatment is
scheduled to begin so as to be relaxed and receptive at the
appropriate time. If you find you have to cancel a treatment,
please give me at least twenty-four hours' notice.
The code for the keypad lock on the clinic's front door is the same as our address: press 3-9-3-1, then the big Lockstate button on top. This will open the deadbolt, and you can use the handle below to let yourself in. If you forget the code, use the doorbell to the right (sparingly, please ... it's distracting for other clients).
Allow about two hours for your first treatment to give us ample
time to gather a thorough health history and chart all of the
details relevant to the condition(s) that you want treated.
During that time, I'll ask you questions about your family and
birth history; your lifestyle, diet, and exercise routines; your
mental state and emotions; any physical pain or discomfort you're
having; your work; your play; your sleep patterns; and so on. The
physical-exam portion of the visit will include palpation of your
pulse and abdomen, examination of your tongue (size, coating, color)
and face (coloration, skin tone, vitality), as well as more familiar
examinations, such as taking vital signs (temperature and blood pressure)
and height and weight measurements.
In short, the more information we collect, the clearer the picture
of your overall health becomes and the more accurate the resulting
diagnosis. It's important we take the time during your first visit
to make sure we have a complete picture.
From this information I'll formulate a baseline diagnosis that
will guide the treatment, helping me choose which acupuncture
points, herbs, and other treatment modalities to use that day
and in future visits. Of course, everything we discuss in relation
to your health is held in strict confidence and will be shared with
no one without your written consent, except as required by law.
After the health-history interview, I'll have you lie down on the
massage table and we'll begin the acupuncture. Most people receive
between six and twelve needles in a visit, though some treatments
require as many as twenty. As mentioned in the
section, acupuncture involves the gentle insertion and stimulation
of extremely fine, disposable, sterile needles at strategic points
near the surface of the body, the goal of which is to elicit a
While some patients are initially nervous and wary of the
claim that acupuncture doesn't hurt, nearly all come to find the
experience quite pleasurable and calming. Many patients return for
weekly or monthly "tune-ups" for that reason alone. After the needles
are inserted, you will be left alone to relax in the treatment room
for between fifteen and thirty minutes, though some conditions require
longer treatment. Heat lamps, eye pillows, and soothing music are
available, should you want them, to help you rest.
While you're relaxing, I'll put together an
for you, if appropriate. At our clinic, herbs are dispensed in
convenient granule (powder) or pill form. If you'd prefer to
decoct a raw-herb tea, or if I don't have the prescribed herbs on
hand, I can send you to an herbal pharmacy in Berkeley, Oakland,
or San Francisco, or, if you prefer, I can have the appropriate
herbs sent directly to your home (costs a bit more, of course).
Though most people feel extremely relaxed after acupuncture, some report
feeling a bit lightheaded. If this happens to you, please rest awhile in
the waiting room. It will pass in short order.
Some patients occasionally experience a worsening of their symptoms after an
acupuncture treatment. This can be a part of the healing process and is
usually soon followed by a marked improvement in overall wellbeing. Even still,
please contact me or my office if you have any concerns or feel any unpleasant
effects after your visit.
Please do not brush or scrape your tongue coat before your treatment.
The tongue's natural coating is a primary TCM diagnostic tool that,
once brushed off, is lost to us for the day. Coffee, cigarettes,
and artificially colored foods—while not praiseworthy
habits under any circumstance—can also stain your tongue
coat and are best avoided before a treatment.