I usually tell my patients to plan on being at my office for an hour and a half for the first visit. This allows enough time to do the customary paperwork, get a complete medical history from a Chinese medicine point of view and to do the acupuncture treatment itself.
Chinese medicine examines every aspect of the functioning of the body to arrive at a diagnosis. A good practitioner will inquire about body temperature, diet, thirst, appetite, elimination, energy level, lifestyle, sleep habits, and pain in the body. Details of the menstrual cycle of female patients are extremely important and revealing of imbalances in the body. Chinese medicine has always recognized that extreme emotional events can eventually cause pain or disease. Much information is derived from an examination of the tongue. And the practitioner will take the pulse on both wrists, looking not only for a heart rate, but also for a strength and overall quality of the pulse that is very indicative of the imbalances in the body. The treatment then aims at treating both the symptom and the underlying cause of the imbalance.
Follow-up appointments usually take one hour. I will review the progress since the previous visit, possibly fine-tune my treatment plan and most likely retain the needles for up to 45 minutes.