New Patient Information
Many of our new patients have never had acupuncture before coming to our clinic, and naturally have questions about the process. Here’s a little information about what to expect.
At your first appointment…
You’ll have a New Patient consultation with one of our acupuncturists. During the consultation, you’ll tell us why you’re coming in for acupuncture and what you’d like us to help you with. Some people come in for a very specific complaint, such as lower back pain or difficulty sleeping. Other people are just curious and want to try it out, or need some help managing stress. During the intake, we won’t go into detail about every aspect of your health history or a lengthy explanation about how acupuncture works; instead we’ll stay focused on your chief complaints and how acupuncture can help you.
We’ll recommend a treatment plan. On your first visit, your acupuncturist will suggest a course of treatment, which can be anything from “we’d like to see you once a week for six weeks” to “we’d really like to see you every day for the next four days.” The treatment plan we recommend for you will be based on our experience with treating different kinds of conditions. Almost all of our patients require a course of treatment, rather than a single treatment, in order to get what they want from acupuncture.
You’ll receive a treatment in our community room and rest with the needles in. After your new patient consultation, you’ll go into our large, comfy, quiet community room for your acupuncture treatment. You’ll be in the room with other patients who are also getting treated and resting. Before you go into the treatment room, please be sure to silence your cell phone. Once you go into the treatment room you can have a seat anywhere you like, then take off your shoes and socks and put all your belongings in the basket next to your chair. Roll up your sleeves and pant legs, and get comfortable! Your acupuncturist will feel your pulse, and then place a few needles in your head, arms and legs. The whole process only takes a few minutes. Once all the needles are in, you’ll rest for as long as you like; this can range from 30 minutes to 3 or more hours. There’s no “right” amount of time, and most patients learn what feels best after a treatment or two. We won’t disturb you if your eyes are closed, so whenever you feel done, just sit up in your chair, open your eyes, or give your acupuncturist a wave. If you ever need to leave by a specific time, please tell us so we can pull your needles on time.
How to get the most out of acupuncture:
Commit to the process. Acupuncture is not a quick cure-all; it’s a process. It is very rare for any acupuncturist to be able to resolve a problem with just one treatment.If you don’t come in often enough or long enough, acupuncture probably won’t work for you. Our sliding scale exists to help you commit to a course of treatment and receive the best possible results.
Embrace the community. One of the beautiful things about community acupuncture is that it brings together all different kinds of people with the goal of healing themselves and those around them. The soothing atmosphere in our clinic exists because all of our patients create it by relaxing together. This kind of collective stillness is a rare and precious thing in our rushed and busy society. Maintaining this reservoir of calm requires that no one talk very much in our treatment space. If you want to have a substantial conversation, we will probably need to schedule it separately.
Because we are a community of patients and practitioners working together, we ask that everyone have a little flexibility so we can create an environment that welcomes all. For example, many of our patients have a favorite recliner. When we are busy, someone may be sitting in yours. Similarly, we have a few patients who snore. Other patients who dislike snoring bring earplugs or headphones to their treatments. Some of our patients even bring favorite pillows or blankets from home with them, because they prefer theirs to ours. Please do whatever you need to do to make yourself comfortable in our community room.
We are able to offer acupuncture at an affordable price because our practitioners treat multiple patients per hour. We promise you we’ll always deliver the highest quality care possible, but because we work at a fast pace, we’re not always able to have lengthy conversations with you about your entire health history, or how acupuncture works, or what your pulses indicate, or what every point does. Many of our patients are interested in these topics, and we think that’s great, so we’ll happily give you plenty to read.
Many of our patients like to come in at the same time every week - we love being part of their routine! We understand that everyone has busy lives, so we will always do our best to schedule your appointment at a time that works for you. However we do have some limitations, and our acupuncturists are only human, so we might not be able to fit you in at the last minute or during our busiest times. For our patients with very busy schedules, we recommend scheduling out appointments in advance so you can get in when you need to. We’re happy to help you with this.
Take responsibility for your health. ENCA does not provide primary care medicine. Acupuncture is a wonderful complement to Western medicine, but it is not a substitute for it, and like any form of medicine, it has its limitations. We can provide complementary care for conditions which require a physician’s attention, but if you have a serious health issue such as a prolonged infection, a malignant growth, or an injury that won’t heal, you should see an MD. We’re happy to refer you to someone knowledgable.
How to prepare for your first appointment:
Please note that there is a one-time additional $10 fee on the first visit.
For your first visit, you’ll need to fill out our New Patient paperwork. You can download the forms if you’ll like to fill them out ahead of time and bring them with you. Otherwise, please arrive about 15 minutes early for your first appointment so you can fill out the paperwork at the clinic.
We realize your time is valuable. Therefore, we ask that you make every effort to arrive on time for your appointment. If you are more than 20 minutes late for your first appointment, we may need to reschedule it.
Please do not wear any perfume, cologne or scented lotions. Many of our patients are sensitive to smells.
Plan to be at the clinic for about 90 minutes. Follow-up treatments may not take as long.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up to the elbows and pants that can be rolled up to the knees.
The treatment room has soft, soothing music playing, but you may bring earplugs or headphones if you prefer to listen to your own music.
Please eat a little something beforehand. Acupuncture is not recommended on an empty stomach.
Don’t plan to engage in any strenuous activity right after receiving acupuncture. It’s best to let your body relax afterwards.
Please be aware that we require 24 hours notice for cancellations. If less than 24 hours notice is given or an appointment is missed without notice, a $15 fee will be assessed.
Click to download our New Patient Paperwork.