What to expect
The first time you come for an acupuncture treatment, you will need to set aside an hour and a half. Subsequent treatments will take 45 minutes to an hour.
This is what happens during a typical consultation:
- Paperwork: The first time you come I’d like you to write down your contact details and some information about your health and general body function. I’ll also ask you questions about your health.
- If you are seeking treatment for a musculoskeletal problem I will check your range of motion.
- Pulse-taking and tongue examination. While you’re lying on the table I’ll take your pulses and look at your tongue. These examinations may seem a little strange, but they are an important diagnostic tool in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). From the feel of your pulse and the look of your tongue I gain information about your current health condition.
- I may palpate your abdomen. This is another tool used to assess your body condition.
- Needling. I choose which points to treat based on the information gathered. When I insert the fine needles into the chosen points you may feel a tingling or warm sensation. This is called qi sensation. Different people experience different sensations and will describe different effects. However, don’t worry if you don’t feel any sensation from the needles—the treatment will still be effective. The needles remain in your skin for about 25 minutes.
- I will remove the needles and, if necessary, check your range of motion again.
You will probably feel either physical, mental or emotional relief.
With some conditions people experience immediate pain relief and find they have an increased range of motion. For example, with some musculoskeletal problems, such as lower back pain, you may notice immediate relief; while with conditions such as insomnia or constipation you may notice improvements over several days.