Preparing for acupuncture Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. While acupuncture points are located everywhere on the body, most of the commonly used points are located between the elbow and wrists and between the knees and ankles. You will feel better if it is easy to roll your clothes up to your knees and elbows. We are always willing and ready to answer any questions you may have. Before receiving your first acupuncture treatment, you will receive a form to authorize treatment and provide preliminary information. Ideally, print and fill out our Intake Form (download here) before your appointment. If necessary, you can receive this form to complete on arrival at the clinic.

Upon arrival At your first appointment, you will be ask a few questions about your health history and your presenting complaints. If you are under the supervision of another healthcare professional, we will likely ask you questions about this. During this assessment, you may be asked about elements of your life that you might not have considered to be related to your main complaint. For example, sleeping habits and patterns, your emotional situation, your diet and eating habits, and other lifestyle matters. In Chinese medicine your acupuncturist assesses the whole person – not only the symptoms or one specific symptom. When your lifestyle, your stress levels and emotional balance, and your diet and habits are considered all together, then the patterns of disharmony giving rise to your condition are revealed and explain the cause.

During your acupuncture appointment Your treatment will involve the gentle insertion of hair-thin Japanese needles to balance your body’s vital energy (Qi). Most people will find acupuncture treatment relaxing and pain-free. The treatment may also involve the use of moxibustion (the burning of a medicinal herb near the skin), gentle electrical stimulation of the needles or cupping (glass cups placed on the skin producing a gentle suction). You will then generally be left to relax with soothing music, retaining the needles in your body for 20-30 minutes — many people fall asleep during this time. We may come back to re-stimulate the needle and to encourage your body’s Qi to help in your healing process.

After your acupuncture treatment Allow time after your acupuncture appointment to have a snack, water, and to move gently to your next activity. Many people feel deeply relaxed after acupuncture and want to go home and rest. Some people feel light headed and need to sit for a few minutes before driving. Other people feel very energized after acupuncture and want to be active. All these responses are fine. If possible, listen to what your body tells you to do after the session.

Very rarely, one of your symptoms may feel worse – or “flare up” – for a short period after your treatment. This usually happens later on the same day as your first treatment and lasts for 24 hours or less. Following this, symptoms typically start to get better. Overall, acupuncture doesn’t worsen symptoms. In some illnesses your body must completely get rid of a pathogen before healing can take place. For example, if you are have flu, acupuncture will not suddenly rid you of the flu but it can markedly accelerate the progression of the flu so that you recover more quickly. Similarly, if you are over-tired and are starting to get a cold, your acupuncture treatment strengthens your immune system, helping you to resist getting sick. If you have been suffering from chronic pain, that pain may lessen, but a more minor nearby pain may be unmasked.