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What To Expect During Your Acupuncture Visit At The Mt. Pleasant Office

How do I prepare for a treatment?

- It's always a good idea to use the restroom before we start.
- Minimize caffeine the day of treatment. This will reduce needling sensations. 
- Plan on relaxing afterwards.  Avoid vigorous activities and alcoholic beverages.

What should I wear?

This is very flexible.  If you prefer to keep your clothes on, loose fitting clothes are best.  Some people prefer to wear just their undergarments.  I carry full sheets so you can cover up.  Skinny jeans and tight long sleeves make specific points hard to access so they may need to be removed.

What should I do after treatment?

On the day of your treatment, please avoid strenuous activity, caffeine, alcoholic beverages and any sustained asymmetrical positions or poor posture (e.g. hunching over a laptop).  A little soreness or desire to rest is quite normal after a treatment.  If you have any concerns after a treatment, just call.

Is it painful?

You may feel some mild sensations such as heaviness, warmth or a slight muscle twitch.  Most people find these to be minimal and often pleasant and relieving.  Achieving some sensation (not pain) is associated with positive clinical outcomes.  For especially sensitive folks, I use tiny pediatric needles that produce very minimal sensations.  Others find they prefer more sensation and associate this with quick relaxation and pain relief.

Is it safe?

Acupuncture is a very safe modality when practiced by a practitioner with extensive training.  Acupuncture licensees have approximately 3,000 hours of training. I use only disposable, single-use needles.  Minor bruising is the most common, but infrequent side effect.

How many sessions will I need?

This varies between people, health conditions, re-aggravating factors and long term goals.  If a health issue is recent, fewer sessions are needed.  For complex and/or long standing conditions, more sessions are usually necessary.  As a point of reference, a recent professional survey found that 8-12 acupuncture treatments are needed to address most conditions. 

A reasonable start to acupuncture is to schedule 6 sessions and then re-evaluate the progress.  For any pain issue, twice a week for the first two weeks is ideal.  For other issues, weekly sessions are preferred.  Often people find that acupuncture provides significant health benefits beyond the original goal and continue with monthly or bi-monthly sessions.  Regular care is excellent for overall health, reduced stress and to address other issues as they arise. 

What is your cancellation policy?

Please keep in mind that 1-2 hours of my time is reserved for your session.  For this reason, cancellations or changes made within 24 hours of the session will incur a charge of 50% of the booked session.  Exceptions are made in cases of 1) contagious illness 2) severe weather or 3) extreme health emergencies.  No shows are charged the full session fee. To minimize the chances of inadvertently missing an appointment, please opt-in to my email and text reminders.

Should I come in if I am sick?

No.  It is best to stay home, rest and not spread illness. Please keep me posted and there will not be a late cancellation fee.  If you have a friend who can stop by, I carry herbs that can provide relief, such as reducing vomiting and diarrhea and fighting bronchial infections. If you are experiencing a high fever (above 103), unrelenting vomiting, dehydration or other severe symptoms, see your primary care provider right away or go to urgent/emergency care.

Do you bill insurance?

We can provide a super bill for you to seek reimbursement from your carrier. If you are in the military and might have acupuncture benefits or suffered an injury in an auto accident, please call to discuss.

Are trigger points the same as acupuncture points?

Research shows a high correlation between acupuncture and trigger points.  In 2006, medical acupuncturist Peter T Dorsher published a paper comparing 255 trigger points with 747 acupuncture points.  He found that 92% of the 255 trigger points corresponded to traditional acupuncture points.  While trigger point therapy alone can provide temporary relief, I incorporate additional points for more sustaining results.  Often I treat areas along the spine where corresponding nerves emerge and supply the affected muscle(s).  This helps re-establish healthy nerve conduction and blood circulation.  Another helpful strategy is to include points that specifically calm the sympathetic nervous system.   

What do LAc, MSTCM and Dipl. OM stand for?

LAc - Licensed Acupuncturist
- I am legally licensed to practice in the state of South Carolina through the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners
MSTCM - Masters of Science, Oriental Medicine
Dipl. OM - Diplomate of Oriental Medicine

- This is the highest level of national certification and indicates one has passed all of the national board exams, including Biomedicine, Foundations of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture, and Herbal Medicine. More info at National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

What is your mask policy?

Masks are not currently required.  However, I may occasionally ask you to wear one if I have a pregnant or immune-compromised patient following your session.  If you prefer to minimize your exposure, please wear a mask and let's get you scheduled for the first sessions of the day.  My policy may change as necessary.

“I was reluctant and a skeptic, but I can honestly say that I am now a true believer in acupuncture and more specifically Heidi's expertise.  I highly recommend Heidi.”  
Lauren H. 

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