What to Expect

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, described as the four examinations. These include: observation, listening and smelling, questioning, and touching. This includes observing the tongue and palpating the pulse. Acupuncture points will be chosen based on your individual needs.


Prepare for Appointment

  • Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete your paperwork, or bring the forms completed. Downloads FORMS for your condition here.

  • 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?

Kathleen utilizes very fine, sterile acupuncture needles in her practice. Her gentle, Kiiko Matsumoto Japanese-Style of acupuncture assists her to finely tune treatments to meet her clients needs. In general acupuncture should not be 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 she 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.


Fear of Needles or Acupuncture - Do you Use Non-Invasive Treatment Options?

She also utilizes non-invasive techniques such as ear seeds, acupressure with magnets, tapping, reiki and other healing energy work to assist those with extreme anxiety about needles or acupuncture. There is much to be done with the energy system and acupuncture meridians or channels without ever placing a needle. Please contact Kathleen for a free 15 minute consultation via phone if you are curious or want to discuss this with her further. You may also book a New Patient Acupuncture Session and Kathleen will be able to use non-invasive techniques as they are needed for you.


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.



What are possible side effects of other treatments?

• Skin irritation is possible with very sensitive skin with use of essential oils, linaments, cupping or guasha;
• Sore muscles or aches, redness or bruising (can look like a circular hickey) of skin is a common side effect of cupping or guasha;
• Herbs and nutritional supplements from plant, animal and mineral sources that have been recommended are traditionally considered safe in the practice of Chinese Medicine, although some may be toxic in large doses or inappropriate during pregnancy. Please advise your acupuncturist of any adverse symptoms immediately.

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.