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What to expect from Chinese medicine


Expect moderate relief of your symptoms in the beginning and progressive relief of your symptoms over the next few days or weeks of treatment, depending upon how long you've had those symptoms. For your long-term health and life management, expect education and guidance in the principles of healthy living, healthy thinking and healthy thoughts, feelings and attitudes. The full value of Chinese medicine comes through understanding that how you create your body and your mind determines your health and the satisfactions you derive from life.

Expect a deeply relaxing time which you can use to quietly think, meditate or sleep either in silence or while listening to any of the hundreds of musical selections, audio books or guided meditations available for your selection. You can also expect that I will provide you with consultation or written material on the principles and practice of self-care from the rich tradition of Chinese medicine.

What happens during a treatment session?

Your first visit will begin with an in-depth assessment of your condition and an initial treatment. The initial intake and treatment will take one hour. You may either arrive 20 minutes prior to your appointment time to fill out the intake forms, or fill them out online and e-mail them to our office. Do this by opening the form, placing an "x" next to the appropriate boxes, then saving the intake form with your name as the title, then attaching the saved forms to an e-mail. You can download the short intake form and the long intake form or at the office and we will e-mail them to you.

All treatments after the first session also last one hour. Please arrive at least five minutes early for all subsequent visits so that you can relax ahead of our session.

We begin each subsequent session with a review of the progress made since the last session. We make sure we're on track and that our focus is appropriate to your current situation.

My needling technique is gentle and some clients feel almost nothing. Most clients usually feel a small pinch which disappears in moments. You may instead feel something akin to a 'pebble dropping into water', with a small pinch that spreads out gradually. Clients experience different levels of sensitivity, so I work closely with you to make sure your experience is comfortable and positive.

I use the finest quality, most expensive American, Japanese, and Chinese needles on the market. These needles are sterilized, single-use and disposable. Our approach is to use the fewest needles possible to achieve therapeutic results while ensuring that treatments are comprehensive and effective.

Depending upon your preferences and the conditions being treated, modalities consist of varying combinations of manipulation, massage, acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, cupping, electromagnetic heat or cold packs. Needles are typically retained for between 20 and 40 minutes while you rest comfortably.

What is the experience like?

The psychological effect of acupuncture is to suspend time and space allowing healing to take place. The result is an induced meditation of which you are in complete control. The sensation is almost always extremely pleasant and profoundly enjoyable. For more than twenty years, clients have told me that the state of consciousness that they reach during acupuncture sessions is one of the most satisfying experiences of their lives.

Most people who begin acupuncture and Chinese medicine are so satisfied with how they feel and how their health improves that they continue treatments once a month or once every couple of months to keep their health in top form. As discussed in the About Chinese medicine section of this website, those clients who see Chinese medicine practitioners in conjunction with their medical doctors and other healthcare professionals report their highest levels of satisfaction with Chinese medicine.

During your session you may choose to sleep, meditate or relax by listening to music which you bring with you or which you select from the thousands of pieces of music or hundreds of guided meditations and books in our audio library.

What should I expect after treatment?

Your relief may be immediate or delayed up to 48 hours. Relief may last for a few hours after the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment. The speed of your response to treatment varies depending upon the severity of the presenting symptoms, your internal reserves of strength and your unique sensibilities.

Side effects are occasional and mild and may include the following symptoms: light-headedness, sleepiness, euphoria, slight nausea, mild bruising, and residual muscle aching. Any of these should last only a short time. It is helpful to take a short nap after acupuncture or to doze off for the last half of your treatment. To help reduce the small risk of side effects, please read the Initial Visit section.

On rare occasions symptoms may briefly get worse after a treatment. Sometimes a flare-up occurs later on the day of your treatment and may last for an hour or more and then improvement and relief follow. If the flare-up lasts longer than this, please call me anytime and I will explain exactly what is happening.

In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur. For example, if you have a cold or 'flu, acupuncture can help destroy the pathogen attacking your respiratory system so that the natural course of the cold or 'flu is shortened. If you are fatigued and have only recently been attacked by a pathogen, acupuncture can help your body strengthen its defensive capacity to ward it off. I can put together a unique formula for you based upon your specific symptoms to shorten the course of the cold. I can then create a separate formula based upon your constitution to build up your immune response to the incoming viral microbial or bacterial pathogens so that you're less likely to get a cold or 'flu in the future.

What are the side effects?

The best approach is to begin treatment as soon as possible after an illness or an injury occurs. The sooner you seek help, the easier the problem is to treat. For severe or longstanding problems, weekly treatments may be required for months in order to have a curative effect. Recoveries from a serious accident or a stroke fall into this category.

Once you and I decide upon a treatment plan, it is important to follow through. The more consistent you are, the better the likelihood of results. The effects of acupuncture and herbs are cumulative. Once you, like Sisyphus, start pushing that rock up the hill you must keep pushing until you reach the top or face the prospect of having to start all over again. After you are feeling better, I will likely recommend a few additional treatments at weekly to monthly intervals. This is referred to as "solidifying the constitution" in Chinese medicine. The goal is to further strengthen your body to prevent recurrence of the illness.

Once clients start feeling better, human nature makes it difficult to follow through with treatments. The physiology of healing requires a lot of energy. The body is most vulnerable following recovery from illness because it has expended much of its energy and internal resources in order to get better. It is therefore important to complete the job in order to prevent repeated or new illness.

How often should I come for treatment?

As part of your first visit, I will discuss with a proposed course of treatment. Since individuals and the conditions they present with vary, it may be difficult to state definitively at the time of your first visit how many treatments will be required. In general, acute conditions of recent onset only require 2 or 3 treatments. A nasty case of sinusitis with headache is a good example. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments to achieve sustained results. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and long-standing neck pain are examples of chronic conditions. With chronic conditions, I usually recommend an initial course of 3-5 treatments in order to make a better assessment of whether or not acupuncture will help the condition. Most people begin to experience results within the first two treatments. If there has been no response to the acupuncture after 4 - 6 treatments, acupuncture alone may not be adequate and other approaches should be considered.

If you are being treated for menstrual problems or infertility, give the treatments three menstrual cycles for your body to respond. We will schedule your appointments further and further apart after you have achieved optimal response in order to insure that the issue is sorted.

Treatments may be scheduled two or three times a week for the first week or two weeks in the beginning to obtain optimal response. Treatments may then be scheduled once or twice a week for the next two or three weeks depending on the severity of the condition and the strength of your response. If you are not able to schedule appointments that frequently, we may decide together to keep progress going with Chinese herbs, supplements, dietary changes or exercise.

Acupuncture is extremely useful as a preventive medicine. Many of our clients see me once a month or once every two or three months for a "tune up" to keep the momentum going and for a strong immune system.

Steve Paine, OMD
Simsbury, CT 06070
T: 860 413 2118
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Steve Paine, OMD, All rights reserved