Never had acupuncture before? New things can be intimidating, especially when it involves needles. To put your mind at ease here is what you can expect at your first acupuncture treatment.
Your first visit will include a consultation/assessment so your acupuncturist can learn more about you and your concerns.
- you were probably given an intake/health history form to fill out when you booked your appointment. It’s best to fill it in before your first visit so you don’t take up valuable treatment time
- Your acupuncturist will go over your answers and may ask some further questions to clarify what your expectations from treatment are.
- Your acupuncturist will likely ask to see your tongue and take your pulses as part of their information gathering process. Don’t be tempted to brush your tongue, part of the assessment includes seeing what the coating looks like.
- Based on the information you have provided your acupuncturist will suggest a treatment plan for you. It will include how many visits, how frequent they should be and what modalities will be included (acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, herbal medicine, etc.)
- Discuss the treatment plan with your therapist. Ask questions if you have any. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with all aspects of the plan.
- Once you are comfortable with the treatment plan it is time to get your first acupuncture treatment.
- Acupuncturists are required by law to use pre-packaged, sterilized, single-use needles. The needles are very skinny compared to those used for flu shots or drawing blood. You may not even feel them!
- Many commonly used acupuncture points are located on the forearm and lower leg. Wear short sleeves and loose pants to allow easy access.
- Treatment is typically done on a massage table or in a reclining chair.
Does it hurt?
- The sensation of the needles being inserted varies from none to a slight pinch (like a mosquito bite).
- Once the needle is in a dull ache or a heavy sensation around the needle is normal and useful.
- If the needle feels sharp/painful let your acupuncturist know and they will adjust or reposition it so that you are comfortable.
- It can be normal for sensations to come and go while the needles are in. It can also be normal to feel like the needle is still there for a few hours post-treatment.
Many people enjoy the experience and feel a sense of deep relaxation during treatment. Often people fall asleep – hence the nickname “acunap“. If you have any questions or concerns be sure to bring them up during the consultation as your therapist will be happy to answer them for you. Still worried? Ask to try one needle before commiting to the process. Or, give acupressure a try (pressing or rubbing the acupoints to stimulate them instead of using needles).