If you’ve never had acupuncture before, it may seem intimidating. But you have nothing to worry about. The process is simple and straightforward. Your comfort is the top priority!
Your appointment will generally last about an hour.
Your practitioner will examine your tongue and also pulses in both wrists in order to arrive at a traditional Chinese medical diagnosis. Depending on the area to receive treatment, you may be asked to remove articles of clothing and make yourself comfortable on the massage table.
Get to the Point
After swabbing the various acupuncture sites with alcohol, your practitioner will insert very thin, sterile, disposable needles into the skin. Although some points are more sensitive than others, you’ll normally feel little to no sensation or discomfort.
The needles are left in for approximately 25-35 minutes.
In addition to acupuncture, other treatments may include massage, moxabustion, cupping, electrical stimulation, and far-infrared heat lamp.
Depending on your treatment, acupuncture may be performed on the front of your body, on the back or a two-sided treatment may be performed.
Most people find acupuncture to be very relaxing and even fall asleep. If should you experience any pain or discomfort, please alert your practitioner right away so adjustments can be made.
What to Expect After Treatment
You should experience some level of relief at treatment. It may be immediate, delayed for a few hours, or even develop after one to three days. The relief may last for a few hours on the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment. It can last from the first treatment until your next visit. Individual response to treatment varies.
Side Effects May Vary
Side effects are very rare, but may include the following: feeling lightheaded, dizziness, sleepiness, euphoria, nausea, slight bruising, residual muscle aches. Any of these side effects should only last a short time. Make sure to report your side effects at your next visit!
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and try to rest after your treatment to minimize side effects.
- Flare-up: On rare occasions, your original symptoms may briefly get worse, or flare-up, after a treatment. A flare-up typically occurs later on the day of your treatment and should only last for a few hours. After a flare-up, your symptoms should begin to improve. In the long run, acupuncture does not make symptoms worse.
- Detox: In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur. For example, if you have a cold, acupuncture will not get rid of the cold, but it can help accelerate the cold cycle so your body recovers faster. If you are fatigued and beginning to get a cold, acupuncture can help your body fight it off.
- Pain: In cases of chronic pain, your original pain may improve and then unmask less obvious pain in the surrounding areas.
Course of Treatment
The number of treatments will vary from person to person.
As part of your first visit, you will receive a customized treatment plan detailing an appropriate course of action for your specific condition. In general, acute conditions of recent onset may only require two or three treatments. Chronic conditions usually require 8 or more weekly visits to achieve sustained results.
The ideal approach to illness is to begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help, the easier it is to treat.
Once you initiate a healing process, it is important to follow through on treatments. The more consistent you are, the better the likelihood of results. The effects of acupuncture tend to be cumulative. After you are feeling better, maintenance treatments are beneficial.