Your first acupuncture treatment can be a little nerve-wracking. Most people don’t associate being poked with needles as a good time! However, don’t worry. The experience is much less stressful and not nearly as painful as you may think.
Acupuncture needles are the size of a human hair. They are specially designed to be as painless as possible. Most patients report little to no pain. Soreness, bruising, and possibly a slight “pinch” are the most common side affects you may experience.
What to expect
Your first treatment will start with a thorough conversation about your health history along with a short physical examination. Our health history questions are different from what you have experienced with your Western doctors. The physical examination is non-invasive and consists of us taking your pulse, inspecting your tongue, and palpating your abdomen along with any other testing specific to your ailment. An example would be checking range of motion for a shoulder injury, or listening to lung sounds if you are having trouble breathing.
During the health intake, we will establish treatment goals and expectations.
After the health intake, it is time to rest on the table and begin your treatment. We will make sure that you are as comfortable as possible and we will take it slowly so that you are not overwhelmed.
Everyone responds differently to acupuncture. There is no right or wrong way to respond to treatment.
Once the needles have been placed, we ask that you rest on the table for 25 minutes. This gives the body time to balance. This is where healing begins and the body starts to respond to the stimulation.
What does it feel like?
People respond differently to acupuncture. There is no right or wrong experience. Some patients get relaxed and sleepy during treatments, other patients experience a burst of energy. Sometimes people cry, sometimes they feel tingles up and down their body. Some people feel nothing at all. All of these are right.
How will I know it is working?
Some patients do get immediate relief with acupuncture. For some, it takes a series of treatments. Some don’t feel any better until the third or fourth treatment. Acupuncture is not a “magic needle” that will fix everything in one shot. There are a number of factors that influence how your body will respond to treatment. Most people feel some degree better after their first treatment. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect on the body, so we build upon that with each treatment. Just know that even if you can’t “feel” it working – it is.
During consecutive follow-up treatments, the discussion is shorter but the treatment is still the same length or longer. Complimentary treatments such as cupping, guasha, or tuina may be used as needed.
How to Prepare For Your First Treatment
- Eat a small snack before your treatment. Acupuncture should not be done on an empty stomach.
- Wear loose fighting clothing such as athletic clothing or sweats. Layers are good. There are over 300 acupuncture points on the human body, so you may be asked to roll pants up to your knee, or expose your abdomen during the treatment. It is good to be comfortable. A gown is available, if needed.
- Bring a list of questions! An open dialogue is important.
- Complete all forms as thoroughly as possible. Bring any recent lab reports or medical reports related to your ailment. A recent and very thorough list of medications and supplements must be completed.