Welcome! I love meeting new people and am looking forward to helping you reach your health goals. If it's your first time seeking acupuncture, I will be both gentle and completely open to all your questions. I love introducing people to this amazing medical system!
Please complete these forms at home and bring them with you to your appointment. If you send your completed forms back to me via email at least one business day before your appointment, I can prepare questions and a treatment plan in advance, allowing us to achieve more depth in your first visit.
If it is not possible for you to complete the forms in advance, let me know so I can have copies waiting for you and please arrive 20 minutes early to complete the paperwork.
If you are scheduling your first appointment in Oakland, you will receive an email with a specific packet of forms to complete instead.
What to Expect
Preparing for Your Visit
New Patient Appointments last 90 minutes, generally 30 minutes for discussion and 60 minutes for treatment.
Please print and fill out the New Patient forms above.
If you plan on using insurance, please complete the Benefits Check Request form at least 24 hours before your visit.
Eat a light snack before treatment. It is best not to be hungry or full.
Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Some patients choose to bring shorts or loose pants to change into (skinny jeans are chic, but incompatible with treatment). Treatments are conducted with clothing on, but acupuncturists do not needle through clothing. So unless we need access to a specific area (upper arms, stomach, back and shoulders, hips), if your clothing is easily adjustable you should not need to disrobe. As with a massage, we often use sheets, towels, and/or blankets for privacy and warmth.
If you have recent lab work, X-rays, etc please e-mail me copies so I can include them in your file.
During Your Appointment
Discussion: The emphasis of your first appointment is on understanding your health history, assessing your present condition(s), and setting goals for your care. We may discuss nutrition, lifestyle, stress, exercise, sleep, and lab work.
Physical diagnosis: I'll take your pulse and may look at your tongue or palpate your abdomen to help diagnose your pattern of imbalance and determine the best treatment.
Tailored treatment: includes acupuncture and contact needling (needles that do not penetrate the skin). Inserted needles are hair-thin, sterile, and single-use/ disposable. You may feel a slight pinprick at insertion, but thereafter you may feel nothing or a slight heavy or sore muscle feeling. If it is ever uncomfortable or painful or you're not sure if it's a sensation you should have, ask your practitioner and we'll adjust as necessary.
In many cases, moxibustion is a helpful addition to treatment. It feels warm and pleasant. Additional hands-on therapies such as massage, cupping, or guasha may be beneficial.
There is plenty of time to discuss your questions and no modalities will be used without your understanding and permission.
While you rest, I'll check your pulse to monitor treatment. You may fall asleep or just focus on your breathing and feel calmer.
We often cool down as we lie still so in addition to covering you up with a light sheet or blankets, we can heat the table to your preferred temperature.
Depending on your needs and based on discussion together, you may be prescribed herbs or supplements, which are the only additional charge to your services.
At the end of your first visit, we will have created a plan to work together to reach your goals including how many sessions and how frequently to schedule them as well as the opportunities you have to provide new information and check in on progress.
Most people feel relaxed during and after an acupuncture treatment.
Hydrate. Your body is working and it needs the assistance so drink more water than usual.
It's better not to drink alcohol or engage in vigorous physical activity after a treatment.
If you have any questions, observations, or concerns, please contact your practitioner.
"I had my first acupuncture session ever yesterday, and I'm so glad it was with Shawna. She explained her approach to acupuncture, and also was patient with my many questions (anything related to needles makes me nervous, so her patience and clear answers made me feel less anxious). Her simple but thorough explanations made me even more curious about acupuncture and its underlying theories of meridian points, healing and energy. Definitely making these sessions regular/weekly." – C.B.