Acupuncture, both as a stand-alone and in conjunction with mainstream Western medicine, has become incredibly popular. Yet many people do not know exactly what to expect. Every acupuncturist and every session is different, but the first visit typically follows a basic protocol. Here is what you should know before your first acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture Treats Many Ailments
Although it is common to visit an acupuncturist for pain relief, acupuncture can actually help with a wide range of ailments. Examples include male and female fertility, mental and emotional disorders, skin diseases, and a variety of infections. Always seek your doctor’s approval before starting acupuncture if you have any underlying health conditions, but you may find that your physician and acupuncturist can work together for a more holistic treatment plan.
You don’t need a full meal, but it is not wise to have acupuncture on an empty stomach. Your body needs energy to gain the full benefits of treatment, and seeking acupuncture without any food in your system could lead to dizziness and lightheadedness, or even fainting.
Wear Loose Clothing
You do not need to fully undress as you would for a massage. However, your acupuncturist needs to easily access specific parts of your body. Wear short sleeves or sleeves that can easily be rolled up, and loose-fitting pants that can be pulled up above your knees.
Plan for a Thorough Check-Up
At your first visit, your acupuncturist will take a detailed health history to get a complete picture of what you need. You may be asked specific questions about urination, bowel movements, menstruation, and sexual behavior. Your acupuncturist may examine your tongue, abdomen, and radial pulse. Although it may feel a bit personal, remember that your acupuncturist is simply trying to understand your current state of health in order to design a customized treatment plan.
The Needles May Be Different Than You Expect
Some people are afraid of acupuncture needles, but there is absolutely nothing to worry about. They are far smaller than hypodermic needles, only about the width of two to three strands of hair, and are very flexible. Most people feel little or nothing during insertion or while the needles are in place. In addition, legitimate acupuncturists in the United States use disposable, surgical grade steel needles that have never been used on anyone else.
Needles Are Just the Beginning
Acupuncturists have a variety of therapies at their disposal, beyond needles. Many offer acupressure, massage, cupping, moxibustion, Chinese herbs, energy healing, and other techniques rooted in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Your acupuncturist will recommend specific treatments based on your individual needs.
One Treatment Is Rarely Enough
Like physical therapy or other treatment protocols, acupuncture takes time to reach its maximum benefits. Your acupuncturist will design a treatment plan for you. Many insurance providers now cover acupuncture treatments, so be sure to ask.
Acupuncture is becoming more and more popular in the United States, but many people are still unsure what to expect. Review the list above, and be sure to ask your acupuncturist any questions you have. Acupuncture is collaborative, patient-centered care, so never hesitate to speak up and become better informed.
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone 310-927-2792 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
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