Friday, January 16, 2009

First Acupuncture Visit

Since I'm trying to play a little bit of catch up, I wanted to describe my first acupuncture visit.  First of all, it was scheduled for 2 hours to accommodate a complete review of my answers to the intake questionnaire and the treatment itself.  I was like, 'holy cow!  My primary care Dr has probably hasn't seen me for a total of 2 hours in all my visits over a 2 year period."  

After I arrived, it took me about 15 minutes to fill out a multi-page intake form, asking everything from typical family history stuff to your sleep habits, exercise habits, what your menstrual cycle is like, nutrition, and choices of a ton a specific symptoms for you to circle if you are experiencing them.  Then there was space for you to list out the 3 main reasons that brought you to the practice, describe how long you've had the issue, what you've done so far, what's been successful or not, etc.  After filling this all out, I sat down with the TCM Practitioner, S, and spent 45 - 60 minutes discussing everything I had filled out, with her asking following up questions.  S then took my pulse in a unique way to TCM and inspected my tongue.  This was all mixed together with the education and knowledge in her brain to come up with my diagnosis: dampness.  I was told to cut out my morning latte, as much dairy and caffeine as I could, and no raw uncooked fruits or vegetables.  Gulp.  I could do it - I want this baby!  She said she would mix up some special herbs for me at my next visit - for now - on to the acupuncture itself.

I laid on the table, face up, fully clothed except for shoes and socks.  S advised me to breathe in, breathe out - and when I exhaled she placed the first needle in my ear - I felt it, but it didn't hurt.  She had me do the special breathing as she finished placing the needles in my ears, and told me I didn't have to worry about breathing on command while she placed the needles in the rest of my body.  The needles were placed in my hands, lower arm, feet, and just below my knees.  I was left for about 20-30 minutes to relax.  I had a hard time relaxing completely - my mind was racing - thinking about how I should be feeling - am I tired?  Am I invigorated? Do I feel energy flowing?  In the end, I think I was able to relax, just a little.

While I was 'relaxing' S examined some supplements and tea I had brought along to make sure they were ok for me to keep taking while I was in treatment.  Ultimately, she told me the FertiliTea was fine, as was the general prenatal vitamin supplement, but she didn't see much value in the FertileCM supplement.  I guess I'll just keep taking them until I run out, but won't bother to re-order.

S came in and removed the needles, we spoke about the nutrition and that again, and I scheduled another appointment for the following week.  Afterwards - I was exhausted.  All afternoon while I was at work I just wanted to crawl up in a ball and take a nap.  I would suggest anyone else make their initial visit at a time when they can just go home and relax afterwards, because you have no idea how you might feel!