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What to Expect


Acupuncture is both effective and relaxing. Some patients experience immediate relief, others need several treatments before attaining significant improvements. You can expect to feel some positive change within several sessions.

Your first acupuncture visit at Stepping Stone Acupuncture & Wellness will last about 80-90 minutes and will consist of a comprehensive consultation about your main concern(s) and complete health history, examination of your tongue and pulse (Chinese medical diagnostic tools), palpation of areas of pain, if necessary, and a summary of our findings, complete with your diagnosis and our treatment plan for you. All of this, and you will get a full acupuncture treatment, too!

Subsequent visits will last about 50-60 minutes and will consist of a follow up assessment of your symptoms and a full acupuncture treatment. To receive maximum benefit from any acupuncture treatment, avoid vigorous exercise, eat a light snack, and do not drink any alcohol or coffee at least 2 hours prior to your visit. Following the treatment, you should avoid vigorous exercise for a few hours.

We will always use the insertion of acupuncture needles into the body during your acupuncture treatment. (For young children, we may choose to use non-insertive acupuncture techniques and magnets in place of needles.) We may also include other Traditional Chinese Medicine healing modalities, as indicated for your particular condition. These include electro-acupuncture, auricular acupuncture (ear acupuncture), moxibustion (a type of herbal heat therapy), pressballs (tiny metal balls applied to acupuncture points that you wear home with you), tuina (traditional Chinese bodywork), cupping (using glass cups to create therapeutic suction over large muscle areas), and gwa sha (a manual technique to break up knotted tissue and promote healing).

The frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the severity of your diagnosed condition. Acupuncture is sometimes given daily or every other day in acute situations that require immediate pain management. A minimal course of treatment for recent ailments and injuries is generally 6-8 visits. Chronic degenerative conditions may require regular treatment over several months or longer. Treatments are usually spaced about once per week.

Additionally, because of its positive impact on the endocrine, immune, and digestive systems, acupuncture can be used on an as needed basis to mitigate the effects of stress on these organ systems.

When practiced by a licensed practitioner, acupuncture is an extremely safe modality with no serious side effects. Stepping Stone Acupuncture & Wellness uses pre-packaged, pre-sterilized, single-use disposable needles. Our acupuncture practitioners are licensed by the Board of Registration in Medicine to practice acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine is most often used in conjunction with acupuncture. We will determine the best course of action for your herbal treatment during the same acupuncture evaluation visit. We will always discuss your Chinese Herbal Medicine treatment options with you in detail. Follow-up herbal medicine consultations are included in follow-up acupuncture appointments.

If you would like to pursue Chinese Herbal Medicine as a stand-alone treatment (without acupuncture), then at your initial consultation will include a comprehensive health history, including discussion of any other medications or supplements you are taking, and formulation of a treatment plan. We will discuss in detail what you should expect from the herbal medicine.

The duration of herbal medicine treatment varies greatly depending on the condition for which you are seeking relief: treatment for the common cold should take no more than a few days, while treatment for certain chronic women's health issues or digestive issues may need 6+ months of treatment to see complete resolution of symptoms. Follow-up herbal medicine visits are scheduled frequently at first (usually weekly), and then spaced out to only once per month once the ideal herbal regimen is established.