What to Expect at your Initial Acupuncture Appointment

What should I expect on my first visit?​

An acupuncture appointment is similar any other form of medical treatment. Upon the patient's first visit, the practitioner will record basic biographical and historical health information about the patient, and will then proceed with the diagnostic framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine asking questions about your condition.

The purpose of the initial acupuncture consult is to determine if we will take on your case and if you are a good candidate for treatment. We will give our best recommendations of an individualized treatment plan for your case.

 

Prepare for Appointment

  • Please arrive 15 minutes early to complete your paperwork, if the forms were not completed online.

  • Please be sure to eat a meal or snack within 2 hours prior to your appointment.

  • Wear loose fitted clothing that allows access to areas above your elbows and knees, or bring shorts and t-shirt.

  • Please do not consume alcoholic beverages prior to your appointment.
     

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

We utilizes very fine, sterile acupuncture needles in our clinic. In general acupuncture is not painful. When your practitioner inserts a needle, you will feel the insertion of the needle as a pinch and then you may feel a dull ache, or a feeling of electricity or tingling, a sensation of heat or cold, or it may just feel strange. Sometimes you can feel energy or Qi running up or down the body or a limb. If any point is uncomfortable, tell your practitioner right away so they can adjust or remove the needle. There are certain techniques or conditions that may require stronger stimulation on the needles to achieve more effective results. In these cases, painful sensations may be normal and will be discussed prior to treatment.

 

Is Acupuncture Safe are there any Risks?

In the hands of skilled practitioner, acupuncture is perfectly safe. However, there are some things to be aware of. Acupuncture is not permitted into scar tissue, infected skin with open wounds or open sores. Once needles are inserted, you should relax, try to lie still and not make any large movements, especially if you have needles in your back or chest.

What are the Possible Risks and Side Effects of Acupuncture?

• Minor bleeding or bruising can occur from acupuncture;

• Needle sickness or fainting can occur in certain patients, particularly at the first treatment;

• Broken needles, minor ache or pain at site of needle insertion, or an electric shock sensation that is more rare;

• Infection and risk from needling in vicinity of an infection 

• Drowsiness can occur in a small number of patients, and if affected, you are advised not to drive;

•  In less than 3% of patients, symptoms may become worse before they improve for 1-2 days following treatment.  

This is rare and is usually a good sign. Please advise your acupuncturist if worsening of symptoms continues for more than 2 days.


Apart from the usual medical details, it is important that you let your practitioner know:​

• If you have ever experienced a seizure, fainting, or other odd detached sensations;
• If you have a pacemaker or any other electrical implants;
• If you are pregnant;
• If you have a bleeding disorder, or are taking anti-coagulants (blood thinners) or any other medication;
• If you have damaged heart valves or have any other particular risk of infection.