What to Expect During Your First Acupuncture Appointment

What to Expect During Your First Acupuncture Appointment

Although acupuncture has been established in modern medicine for decades, there are still millions of Americans who have never experienced the benefits of this amazing healing art. Probably the most common sentiment among those people is concern over the insertion of the acupuncture needles into the skin. It seems risky; it seems painful. We are here to tell you that acupuncture is a safe and painless procedure that is being used to treat a multitude of physical and emotional ailments. Acupuncture has shown to be especially effective in treating chronic pain, arthritis, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, urological problems, anxiety, depression, and much more.

Please read on for essential information on what you can expect to experience at your consultation and first appointment with a licensed acupuncture practitioner.

Medical History: Past and Present

Your acupuncturist will first want to understand your reasons for seeking treatment. You should expect to be candid and thorough when discussing the health conditions that have prompted you to try acupuncture.

Similar to how you would detail any known chronic or recent health issues you experience when seeing a physician, you should come to the acupuncturist’s office prepared to discuss your family medical history. You will want to make the practitioner aware of any diagnosed medical conditions, limitations or disabilities you have. This is also the time to be honest with him or her about your exercise regimen and your diet. You should also discuss any medications you are currently taking.

You may be asked about your sleep and digestive patterns. Women are generally asked about their menstrual cycle and past pregnancies and childbirth. In the spirit of holistic healing, the acupuncturist may also ask you about your emotional well-being.


An examination conducted by an acupuncturist will be a little different than what you experience with most Western medical professionals. The acupuncturist will examine the color of your face and the color and condition of your tongue. He or she will likely check your pulse several times. Acupuncture is one of the techniques that make up Chinese medicine, which has ancient roots and has now evolved into modern practice. As such, a patient’s physical, mental and emotional health are all taken into consideration. Ancient Chinese philosophy, and all traditional cultures worldwide, acknowledge the inseparability of our physical, mental and emotional beings. This is what may distinguish your experience with your acupuncturist from other healthcare experiences you may have had, and also explains why you’re talking about work with your acupuncturist when you thought the problem was in your back!

Discuss Treatment Options

The acupuncture specialist will want to develop an individual treatment plan for you to effectively address the conditions you are dealing with. He or she may also suggest enhancements to acupuncture or even additional treatments depending on your symptoms and their severity. For example, the acupuncturist may decide that the best course of treatment would be acupuncture combined with a practice called moxibustion, which introduces heat to the procedure to amplify the effects of

The Acupuncture Treatment

After a thorough examination and discussion of courses of treatment, the practitioner will most likely recommend an initial acupuncture session. At this point, he or she has already determined an appropriate first treatment.

You will probably lie down on your stomach or back. In some cases, you may have to remove certain articles of clothing to expose areas for treatment. The acupuncturist will have a small, hair-thin needles prepared to use during the treatment. These needles are sterile and single-use only, meaning they are disposed of after using and never reused on other patients.

The tips of the needles will be gently inserted into the skin. The needles might be twisted slightly once they are inserted. It is possible that you will feel a sensation, but it is almost never a painful one. In fact, most people find acupuncture to be a relaxing experience despite their nervousness. Many patients report a sense of “release” after just a few minutes as the acupoints are stimulated. The practitioner will sometimes gently manipulate needles to achieve optimal positioning. As few as four to five needles may be used or more than 20, depending on the conditions being treated.

Once your acupuncture session is concluded and the needles have been removed, you should feel relaxed and may notice a positive effect immediately, or in the next few days. If you feel any discomfort at all, you should talk to your acupuncturist about it. A course of between eight to 10 treatments are generally needed to achieve maximum results, depending on the situation. Treatment will be more frequent at the outset, and as a momentum is achieved they will be spaced out until only occasional tune-ups are necessary. Many patients consider a monthly or periodic treatment an enjoyable part of their health regime.

Schedule an Examination Today

Hopefully, we have demystified the acupuncture process for you and you’re comfortable booking a consultation to see how this valuable healing practice can help you. Call Sicari Healing Arts at (443) 631-6102 or fill out an online inquiry form to get started today.