What to Expect
Treatments in the intern clinic generally last 1.5 - 2 hours for new patients and 1 hour for followup visits. Patients are interviewed, diagnosed and treated by a team of two interns, with one clinical instructor overseeing the entire process and approving the treatment. Whenever possible, we try to schedule patients with the intern or instructor of their choice, though this may not always occur due to scheduling issues and the attempt to ensure each intern is exposed to a wide variety of patients and cases. In addition to the two assigned interns, a lowerclassman student observer may also be present in the room, though he/she will not participate in the interview, diagnosis or treatment.
New patients will be asked to fill out a history form prior to the first visit. The assigned interns will review the history form, then bring the patient into a private treatment room for an interview. As a part of the interview, students will perform one or more physical tests which are common to Chinese medical diagnosis, including the taking of pulses on both wrists, observation of the shape, body and color of the tongue, palpation of sensitive points on the body, the observation of skin, hair and nail color and tone, and the sound of the voice. These tests and the medical history and interview are used by the students to arrive at a diagnosis and treatment. Once these are determined, the students will review the treatment plan with the instructor, and perform the treatment.
Acupuncture treatments may last anywhere from 10-30 minutes or longer, and generally involve 2-10 needles or more. They may also involve a process called "moxibustion", which involves the burning of the herb mugwort over an acupuncture point. The patient will mild heat from this process, though not enough to cause pain. Many patents find moxibustion to be a pleasant and relaxing experience.
Once the treatment has been completed, the interns will discuss future treatment plans with the patient, and recommend a timeline continued visits. The patient may schedule these visits immediately, or may call at a later date to set up additional appointments. The patient may also feel free to call the clinic at any time if they have questions regarding their treatment and its effects.
To find out more about acupuncture and how it works, read our article: "An Introduction to Chinese Medicine: An Owner's Manual for Anybody Who Has a Body".