Let’s follow Susan as she goes to her first acupuncture treatment. Susan is a little hesitant, thinking of many needles sticking out of her in funny places so that she can’t find a place to sit easily. Her friend Marie had recommended this acupuncture clinic as a possible help for Susan’s recent problems of sleeplessness and depression. Susan was very surprised that Marie had ever visited an acupuncture clinic, as Marie didn’t seem to be someone that would visit something this unusual. And anyway, Marie always seems so remarkably healthy, attending the gym on a regular basis and still having lots of energy to spare. Susan was surprised to find out that Marie had been going to this acupuncture clinic for more than three years. She was even more surprised to find out that the first visit was suggested by Marie’s doctor – her family physician. Susan had no idea that a regular doctor would recommend a visit to an acupuncture clinic.
It turns out that a few years ago Marie had very intense cramps, and after a discussion with her doctor, they decided acupuncture might help to reduce or eliminate these. After having that treatment, Marie had discovered that some people visit the acupuncture clinic periodically just to keep in good health. Marie really enjoyed the way she felt, and so continued with the periodic visits as a kind of “tune up,” as she called them.
Though this is Susan’s first treatment at the acupuncture clinic, it is her second visit. Her first visit was to sit with the acupuncture practitioner to take several vital signs and to have a long discussion about her symptoms. Susan explained that she was hoping to get relief from the sleeplessness and depression through the treatments at the acupuncture clinic. She was surprised at the number of questions that she hadn’t thought about. She hadn’t noticed if the sleeplessness was the same on every night, or if she got to sleep more easily on some nights. She hadn’t noticed if she easily returned to sleep if she was awakened once she was asleep. She hadn’t thought about whether the sleeplessness started after they turned off the central heat in the house, now that spring had come. There were so many questions about that. There were questions she had expected, like that her depression could be related to the fact that her best friend at work had left for a new job. There were also surprising questions about patterns that she noticed about any previous depressions that she might have had.
Susan pulled into the parking lot, still a little nervous. The acupuncture practitioner was a very nice and calm man, but still… Twenty minutes later, Susan was sitting in a comfortable chair with about 18 needles at various points on her arms and ears. She was very comfortable, and inserting the needles did not hurt at all. After sitting there for 15 minutes, the acupuncture practitioner came in, removed the needles, and that was it. Susan was amazed! A sequence of 6 treatments had been prescribed initially, and they agreed to revisit Susan’s symptoms when these were done. She was so happy it was so easy!