Acupuncture is a kind of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that leaves many people with questions. You might be afraid of needles, not want to lay completely still, or don’t understand what an acupuncture session actually encompasses. Don’t worry. With acupuncture being more accepted and commonplace throughout the world, the practice is becoming less and less of a mystery. If you have a session coming up, continue reading, because we’re going to demystify what happens during your appointment.
The First Visit
Alternative and complementary medicine professionals receive a lot of questions from first time visitors about what to expect. The first visit is typically the longest session you will have, because the acupuncturist will need to assess your general health first. The professional will ask questions about your personal health history, including questions related to family, diet, digestive health, sleep routine, and present emotional state. They might even look at your tongue, check your pulse, and palpate a few organs.
The reason you are asked the questions and examined is for two reasons:
- You are being assessed for a specific complaint
- To locate sources of imbalance within your body
From there, you will be asked to lie down on a table. Depending on the parts of your body that need to be treated, you might have to remove a piece of clothing, but you will never be asked to be fully undressed if you are uncomfortable with that.
Don’t be surprised if the acupuncturist needs to insert needles into your hand or foot or someplace else you didn’t think of to treat whatever is ailing you. There are 365 acupuncture points on the body for specific targets and an unlimited amount of other unspecified points for the professional to use.
What deters many people would be the needles—but there’s no reason to fear. The needles are ultra-thin, sterile, and disposable, so only you will ever receive that needle. Insertion of these needles are often described as a slight pin prick, but many patients report feeling next to nothing.
Once the needles have been inserted into the points that the acupuncturist has selected, you will start to feel a range of sensations. You might feel lighter, heavier, or hotter than usual. However, you should never feel uncomfortable or in pain.
From there, you just lie back and relax. You don’t have to lie perfectly still the whole time either. Even though you have needles in, you’re allowed to scratch and itch and shift on the table if a limb starts falling asleep.
Ending The Session
After you have rested with the needles in for about 25 minutes, you will be gently woken up by the acupuncturist. Some professionals will remove the needles and have you drink some water immediately. Others will remind you to stay hydrated for the rest of the day and provide other instructions for your recovery.
If you enjoyed your first acupuncture session, you might want to schedule another round. The frequency of your appointment depends entirely on you and your situation, but never expect to visit the acupuncturists more than once a week. More chronic conditions might have to go once a week for several months and for longer periods of time.
Now that the typical acupuncture appointment has been deconstructed for you, what do you think? Are you ready to give acupuncture a try? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional acupuncturist to have your concerns answered.