If you’ve never tried acupuncture (or even if you have and had a great experience), did you know that there are ways to make the most of your treatment? Holistic healthcare plans are generally not passive constructs; if you take a bit of initiative too, then your results will be that much more tangible and lasting.
Here’s a short list of things to keep in mind for before, during, and after your appointment.
~~~Before the first visit~~~
Make a list of all your medications and supplements. Ideally, the paperwork you will need to fill out is online and, if it is, do fill it out before you get there. Acupuncturists ask a lot of questions and this really is holistic health. You don’t want to waste time on your intake forms. And even if you do not have access to new patient paperwork beforehand, definitely bring in your medication and supplement list. If you’re going to an acupuncturist for weight loss or gut health concerns, bring a concise (maybe three-day) food diary with you; if your treatment is for injury recovery, chronic pain, or a complicated medical condition (I treat a lot of Ehlers-Danlos patients, for instance, and this patient population tends to have complex conditions), then bring a short bullet list of the history of your injury, chronic pain, or varying illnesses and/or surgeries.
If you plan ahead a little bit then your practitioner can help you get to what really matters to you a little faster. There’s no need to over-prepare, but a little bit of planning beforehand will make a big difference.
~~~For the first visit~~~
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may end up leaving your clothes on or you might be given a gown. Either way, uncomplicated clothing will make things easier. Don’t go on an empty stomach but don’t eat a large meal beforehand, either. If you’re nervous about needles, let your practitioner know and the treatment plan will reflect that information. It’s not necessary to use a lot of needles and when someone is nervous of them, we are glad to start slowly.
The first intake is generally the long one. We really do want to get as much information as possible from you. Even so, there should be a focus. Your practitioner will help you to maintain that focus with his or her questions, but if there are multiple conditions at play, it might be best to start by being clear about your primary goal for your health. Do you want to lose weight? Get pregnant or sustain a health pregnancy? Maybe you want to resolve a skin condition or an autoimmune problem or you really and truly want to regain control of a chronic issue like pain or anxiety. Sometimes, it’s a matter of a series of appointments and sometimes it’s that plus you really will need to make some lifestyle changes. The journey of a thousand steps starts with the first one, so set your feet down with intention.
You and your practitioner can decide if a package plan is your best bet. If there is a lot going on, packages really can be the most valuable way to achieve your health goals. Either way, what you do when you leave your appointment will enhance or detract from the healing you desire.
~~~After your appointment~~~
When you get up off the table, take a moment to relax and feel the changes in your system. Stay with that feeling as long as you can. It may be tempting to revert back to habitual thinking and speaking, true. But if it’s available to you to remain mindful for a bit and to just enjoy some inner peace, then by all means do that. Daily tasks and concerns will still be there for you if you leave them be for a bit, and they might even become that much more manageable as a result of you taking a bit of a vacation from stress and the compulsion to do and achieve.
Do not take a shower or go out swimming or leave your uncovered neck open to wind or air conditioning. If possible, stay off the electronic devices for a little while (or the rest of the day) and enjoy some repose. Let the healing begin and let it take root.
Last of all? Commit to yourself. You’ve looked around for the right acupuncturist for you and you are confident that you have found the practitioner who is going to offer you the support and healing you need. Trust yourself. Healing is not often a linear process and if you’ve had an injury or dysfunction for years, it will take more than one treatment to fix things. But you are not helpless. Take control of your health. Assess your situation. Go to your appointment well-prepared. Get ready to make a plan for your wellness process. And then simply relax and go with the flow of healing. Acupuncture and other forms of Chinese medicine can change your life.
Are you ready for some changes?
Paula Bruno, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, an AOBTA-CP traditional Chinese bodywork therapist, and a wellness educator. She maintains an active and growing practice at her Austin, TX offices. Dr. Bruno is also available for distance appointments for wellness consultation or coaching.
In her first career, she was a Spanish professor.
Dr. Bruno’s specialties as a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner include: • Musculoskeletal health (acute or chronic pain relief; Ehlers Danlos syndrome & hypermobility support) • Digestive support, gut health, and weight loss • Aesthetic treatment, including scar revision • Men’s health • General preventative care and immune support for all persons.
When you are ready to discover what traditional medicine plus a vibrant and engaged approach to holistic health can do for you, either contact Dr. Bruno or book an appointment online.
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Note: Material on this web site site is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease, illness, or ailment. A TCM practitioner in Texas identifies syndrome patterns but does not diagnose illness. Material on this web site does not purport to identify syndrome patterns.