If you’ve never seen an acupuncturist, here’s some insider information to help you feel more comfortable.
At your first visit, your practitioner will get to know you and your health concerns by asking detailed questions about your health history, feeling your pulses on each wrist and they will take a look at your tongue (feeling pulses and looking at the tongue are traditional methods of diagnoses and allow the doctor to learn of any imbalances in your body). The practitioner will determine your individualized treatment plan and explain what you can expect from your acupuncture sessions.
The practitioner will let you know the best position and what areas they will need to access during the treatment. Most of the time you will be fully clothed and your sleeves or pants will need to be rolled up for access to the arms or legs. If you are receiving a back treatment, you will need to take off your shirt and for women, remove your bra so we may access the acupuncture points. You will be laying face down and likely have a sheet covering your legs and any area that is not being needled.
The practitioner will then leave the room to allow you to get comfortable on the treatment table either laying face-down, on your back, or side-lying as determined by your comfort, your condition, and access to certain acupuncture points. Once they return, they will swab the points to be needled with a cotton ball and some alcohol before needling.
Please let your practitioner know if something feels uncomfortable, and they will adjust the needling to your comfort. Needle retention can be anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes depending on the condition and treatment. During this time, the practitioner will leave the room and let “the needles cook,” which means allowing you to relax to make the treatment more effective. Don’t be surprised if you fall asleep cradled by the effects of the needles, soft music, and dimmed lights. Other times, the practitioner may answer your questions or perhaps do some bodywork away from any area that may have needles in place.
At the end of the treatment, the needles will be removed and we may suggest some herbal remedies, diet changes, or lifestyle change to make the treatments more effective.
Most individuals continue to feel relaxed and sometimes sleepy after the treatment. It is recommended that you give yourself time to rest and enjoy this state. We also ask patients to take note of how they feel after last treatment and share this information with their practitioner during the next visit.