What to wear: Please wear loose fitting clothing that can be rolled up or down. Sweat pants, skirts, tank tops, etc. are the most convenient. Feel free to bring such clothes with you and change when you get to my clinic. Some of my patients wear gym shorts under their clothes. Generally I use acupuncture points on the lower legs and forearms. But depending on your condition, other points on the back, torso, head, etc. may be important. If you are uncomfortable to have needles in a certain location on your body, please inform me during our interview.
What about food? It is vital that you are neither hungry (have eaten within 2-3 hours of the appointment) nor too full during your acupuncture treatment. Even if you do not feel hungry, you should make sure that you have eaten something. Needling can be dangerous if blood sugar is too low.
What should I bring to my first visit? I will need to know as much about your current medical condition as possible. Most patients find it helpful to write down a list of their conditions (with dates of initial onset and any other treatments) before their appointment. This helps organize my interview, especially for patients with multiple or complicated conditions. If you have in the past or are currently receiving treatment from a medical doctor, please bring a copy of any relevant medical records. This may include, blood labs, pathology reports, list of prescribed pharmaceuticals These records are often vital in my determination of your condition and treatment. This is especially important for patients with cancer, autoimmune disorders and other serious and chronic diseases. Please contact me if you have any questions about what you need to bring.
Question: Do I need to tell my western (MD) physician that I am receiving acupuncture or herbal treatment from you?
Answer: I encourage you to be as open as possible about discussing acupuncture or herbal treatments with your physician. It is important that your physician know that there may be other factors other than his/her treatments that may be affecting your condition. My training in Taiwan included cooperation and cooperative treatment among world-class medical specialists. It is my greatest desire to work this way with all my patients and their physicians. Ultimately, the patients benefited the most with such integrated care. I am happy to talk to and work with any physician who has questions about Chinese medicine in general or my intended treatment specifically. I do not encourage patients to use Chinese medicine as a substitute for or in lieu of standard physician care. Both medical systems working in tandem often provide optimal results.
Note: There is a lot of misinformation regarding acupuncture and Chinese herbs passed through the media. Most physicians are not truly informed about Chinese medicine and only hear the (often negative) rumors. Unfortunately, I have had some patients here in Seattle whose physicians effectually forbade them from Chinese medical treatment–refusing to treat them if they continued. This is especially common with cancer patients, who could receive incredible benefit from Chinese-Western integrated care. If you are confused about whether acupuncture or herbs (Chinese medicine) will be helpful or harmful to you, I encourage you to talk to your physician and me as well as do some of your own research to become as informed as possible. I am always happy to answer your questions.
What about alcohol, marijuana or pain killers? I appreciate people come to my clinic sober. I will refuse treatment for people who are drunk or high on drugs. Not only is the ‘qi’ or energy of people who are drunk disoriented and scattered, rendering acupuncture treatments less predictable and possible dangerous, but it is difficult to get a coherent interview. Misinformation can lead to mistreatment. I also have had some patients take high doses of ibuprofen or other pain medication in ‘preparation for the acupuncture’. People who have high levels of anxiety surrounding acupuncture may benefit from other treatment modalities, such as herbs, acupressure or moxabustion. Please inform me of any apprehension you may have regarding acupuncture treatment. I am also happy to refer you to other practitioners that might better suit your needs. Generally people find acupuncture to be a highly pleasurable experience with minimal, if any, discomfort.