What to Expect During Your First Acupuncture Treatment

If you suffer from chronic headaches, cramps, back pain or poor digestion, it may be time to try acupuncture. Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment that rebalances your internal energy. Although the treatment has Eastern origins, many Western practitioners embrace acupuncture as well, claiming the therapy stimulates nerves and muscle receptors while promoting chemical and hormonal balance.

Holistic treatment options, such as acupuncture, reiki, reflexology and some kundalini yoga practices, are growing in popularity and offer an alternative or complement to taking prescription and over-the-counter medication. These practices often combine energy-balancing treatment with healthy lifestyle choices to promote head-to-toe, feel-good results.

Feeling needle-phobic? Don’t worry! Most people feel no pain during acupuncture, so rest easy. To ease your mind, so you can enjoy your first treatment, this is what you can expect during a typical acupuncture session:

  • Prepare. Before you visit an acupuncturist, check with him or her to ensure he or she is licensed and up to date on their certifications.
  • The Day Of. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and overly fatty foods before your session. Acupuncture releases a lot of energy and endorphins into the blood stream, so you want your body to be well-hydrated and primed to receive these benefits.
  • Evaluation. Before you disrobe, your acupuncturist will likely ask you a series of questions about your general wellbeing, emotional state and pain points. He or she may take your pulse, examine the inside of your mouth and check other vitals, so he or she can tailor your treatment to your needs.
  • Insertion. Next is the treatment. Thin, flexible acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin at varying depths to stimulate pressure points, hormone release and energy rebalancing. Typically, your acupuncturist will use between five and 20 needles per treatment session. Most patients do not experience pain and cite a mild “zinging” sensation during the procedure.
  • Adjustment. Your acupuncturist may then move or adjust the needles to maximize effectiveness. Sometimes, gentle heat or electric pulses are applied to the needles to stimulate energy or relaxation, rather than discomfort.
  • Removal. After 10-20 minutes, the needles are removed. Depending on the type of treatment, you may feel immediate relief from your symptoms, experience a calm euphoria or feel energized after therapy. Most patients receive acupuncture one to two times per week for a series of six to 10 sessions.


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