Acupuncture And Expectation

Most first-time patients have preconceived notions when it comes to acupuncture (and hypnotherapy as well...I'll get into that tomorrow). As a result, there are certain expectations that I hear about quite often in my practice. Here are the top ten:

  • "I didn't expect the needles to be so small!" Yes, they're tiny. The smallest gauge needles I use are about the size of a hair.
  • "I didn't expect to fall asleep while I had needles in!" I would say that about 80% of my clients fall asleep during their sessions. The ones who don't are usually left staring at the ceiling, lost in la-la land. Acupuncture releases endorphins that promote a profound sense of relaxation, so even nervous clients zone out once the needles are in.
  • "I didn't expect to talk this much before my session!" We have gotten used to being rushed in and out of medical settings. So, it can seem a bit strange at first to sit with a health practitioner who expresses interest in every facet of your health. Acupuncture treats the patient at all levels, so I want to know as much as I can about you. Yes, there are lots of questions during the initial visit. Knowledge is power-the more I know about you, the better your treatment will be.
  • "I didn't expect you to be able to treat my insomnia/asthma/etc as well as my shoulder pain!" About 80% of my patients initially come in seeking pain relief. Why? Because that's what they think acupuncture is for. Most people have no idea of how all-encompassing this medicine is. We acupuncturists treat far more conditions that you could possibly imagine.
  • "My shoulder feels better, but I didn't expect my ___ to improve as well!" Acupuncture is holistic. In this society, we are used to treating our bodies in pieces. Go to your doctor with a complaint of hip pain and blurred vision, and he will sent you to two separate specialists to address the issues. Not here, however. Since we acupuncturists focus on underlying patterns, we can treat all sorts of seemingly unrelated issues during the same session.
  • "I didn't expect you to be so...normal!" I get this a lot. My office is comfy, yet clinical. It's not very new-agey, and neither am I.