So you've decided to start making some positive changes, and have finally scheduled that acupuncture appointment. You know that this practitioner is going to become an important part of your journey to well-being, and you are going to be seeing them on a regular basis...so you should probably try to start off on the right foot with them. Here are some pointers on how to begin the acupuncturist/patient relationship on the right track:
1. Show up. Don't just blow off your appointment without calling. Most practitioners charge a "no-show" fee for this, but even if they don't-it's still unacceptable behavior. It's one thing to forget, but simply deciding not to come in because you've changed your mind is wasting your practitioner's time, and taking that time away from another patient who might really need it.
2. Try to be on time. I understand that things happen, but if you are 30 minutes late for every appointment, perhaps you should shift your appointment time to a time that better suits your schedule.
3. Be honest. I will be asking lots of questions about your health, and even if it seems that these questions have nothing to do with why you are here, everything is connected. If you don't answer these questions truthfully, I will have difficulty forming your diagnosis-which means that your treatment may not be as effective.
4. Be patient. If you have had a health issue for 20 years, it's probably not going to resolve overnight. I will discuss what I think you will need, treatment-wise, during our first session. But please don't give up after the first session if you don't get immediate relief-acupuncture can sometimes take time, just like Western medicine!
5. Take some responsibility for your health. If you are coming in because you can't lose weight, having acupuncture and then stopping at McDonald's on the way home is self-defeating. If you have a torn hamstring, the best treatment in the world is not going to last if you are running 30 miles a day.
6. Pay attention to your progress. People tend to forget pain-it's human nature. Try to be aware of the changes that acupuncture is bringing about, and you will appreciate the experience all the more. If you didn't come in for a pain condition, think about your mood, sleep, digestion...focusing on these changes will make you happy that you made the decision to start coming!
7. Talk about us! If you have an acupuncturist you love, talk them up. Tell your friends, post an online review, mention us to that cranky coworker with the bad knee. Most acupuncturists (myself included) have referral programs to reward those who bring in new clients!