Jillian uses affiliate links in this post, meaning she may get a commission for any purchases made using these links. Commissions go towards keeping this site active. For more information, please see her Privacy and Disclosure Policies page. Keep reading for what you should know about acupuncture, and what to expect at your first acupuncture appointment.
What to expect at your first Acupuncture Appointment
As mentioned in the first post of this month themed with posts about wellness and self-improvement, I have been visiting an acupuncturist for almost 4 months. I began seeing her for sleeping problems, possible thyroid issues, and to make sure my hormones were healthy and balanced. At this point I am very impressed and a believer in the power of acupuncture. Acupuncture seems to have a similar effect as massage does on me in the way it leaves me feeling relaxed and less sore. My sleeping is definitely improved for about a week after every appointment. I am wondering if it is also responsible for my higher energy and great moods over these past few months.
You really can receive acupuncture treatments for just about anything. Why? Acupuncture can be used on specific areas relating to a condition, or all throughout the body for total balance. It is similar to massage therapy in that way. If you are interested in seeing an acupuncturist, but not sure about what it is like, here is some info from my experience so far. Please note that Acupuncture, like massage, is also practiced in different ways with slightly different techniques and touch by each acupuncturist.
My first acupuncture appointment
For my first acupuncture appointment I was super nervous! I had worked close to acupuncturists at different locations during my massage career, read up on them and what they do, and even had a great referral from a close friend for the one I was to see. However, I still was not sure exactly what to expect. I had questions I think most people have. But won’t the needles hurt? Where will she stick me? How much of my clothes will I need to take off? Who else or what else might be involved?
I arrived to my acupuncturist’s home office a few minutes early, as you should do for all types of wellness practitioners. She has a nice waiting room area, and a small private room next to it she uses to practice in. At the first appointment I was to bring in health history forms she emailed me, plus charts with details of my monthly cycles, and labels or bottles of any herbs I already took. We discussed my wellness goals and concerns, and she looked through everything and asked many questions. She had me stick out my tongue, looked at my eyes, hands, and took my pulse. I have noticed she also does some of these things at every appointment.
Finally, it was needle time!
Once she acquired all the info she needed, she instructed me to take off my shirt (leave on my bra), and either roll my pant legs up or take them off. I was to then lay on my back on the table (your usual massage table) under a sheet and blanket. She left the room to let me have time to undress and get comfy on the table. When she came back in she made sure I was comfortable, and then started inserting the needles. I had heard that acupuncture needles are super small and do not hurt much, but I was still so nervous! I have sensitive skin too, so I was not sure how it all would react. It turned out to be correct that the needles ARE super small and you hardly notice them going in. As a matter of fact, some are so unnoticeable I had no idea how many she stuck in me or where!
My favorite part!
During the time the needles are being put in, and as you are left about 20 minutes to lay there you are to remain still as possible. I must say I actually enjoy the rest and peace I get during this part. After that, she came back in, took them out, and then had me flip onto my stomach. She put a few in my back, only for a few minutes. I do not know why, but I have noticed at every appointment my back is super sensitive! I almost always feel everything that goes in back there. At my second appointment she tried cupping on my back, which did reveal very toxic areas. Maybe this had something to do with it? The cool thing is after about 2 months of appointments my cupping marks are not nearly that dark! Proof something is definitely being improved by acupuncture!
When she was done taking needles out she left the room for me to get up and get dressed. When she came back in, we discussed what she found, and she gave me herbs to take every day 2x a day. Acupuncturists are well studied in Chinese herbs, and how to combine different ones to help with pretty much anything. I never got any side effects from taking herbs. I was easily able to transition from taking the herbs I was already taking to instead just take her’s.
Other things that may occur during your Acupuncture appointment
So some things, like the cupping I mentioned above, are not always practiced at every appointment. Sometimes she also floats a hot herb stick (sort of looks like a cigar) over certain parts of my body. Other times she lights some at the base of some of the needles (I might feel a quick pinch if the metal needle gets hot.) She also might massage around my ovary/tummy area or on my neck and shoulders. As I stated at the beginning of this post, depending on what they find or are trying to balance, and how each practices your acupuncturist may do things differently than mine.
I visited the acupuncturist once a week for the first two months of treatment. After that, my acupuncturist said we only needed to do once a month appointments. She and I felt my hormones and organs were more balanced out. As long as I kept taking my herbs she gave me I should be good. I was impressed with how fast she was able to balance everything out, and how great I felt after each appointment. I would highly recommend Acupuncture for anyone! Please let me know in the comments when you have your first acupuncture appointment!
*For those in the South Central PA area, I highly recommend Diem who is located in Carlisle.
Thanks for reading!