What to Expect from Your First Acupuncture Appointment
13 Apr

What to Expect from Your First Acupuncture Appointment


You’ve been hearing your friends rave about their Eastern medicine experience, but you can’t wrap your head around how getting stuck with a bunch of needles can help you with your chronic pain, sleep problems, and stress levels! 

After all, don’t the needles hurt? Where do you find a good acupuncturist? How do practitioners know where to put the needles? Why does acupuncture make you feel good? What is an initial acupuncture appointment like? In this article, we’re going to walk you through our process, from scheduling with our front desk, to walking out of our office feeling refreshed!

When you first request an acupuncture appointment through our new client portal, our friendly front desk staff will give you a call to get to know you, what’s bringing you to our office, and to make sure that we will be the best fit for you with your current pain points. From there, we match you with a practitioner who’s schedule, expertise, and personality will best work for you and your body’s needs.

We send you several forms, including consent to treatment and an extensive patient history. We want to get to know exactly what’s going on within your body and life so we can accurately treat the uncomfortable symptoms. Filling out the forms before your appointment allows our practitioners to be as prepared as possible when you walk through our doors.

When you arrive for your appointment, your practitioner will want to get to know you and discuss your forms a little bit for any additional information. They will typically walk you through a full medical intake, to make sure that they understand the information you’ve given in the forms.

After this, the practitioner will instruct you to disrobe to your comfort level, and leave the room to give you privacy. For many people, this looks like undressing to their underwear; others wear nothing at all; and still others will leave their bra and leggings on! Your practitioner will be able to work on your hurting areas regardless of what you decide to wear.

Once you are settled onto the table and draped with the sheets, your practitioner will re-enter the room and begin your treatment! This may involve a number of modalities to get muscles to relax, including but not limited to acupuncture, cupping, massage therapy, aromatherapy, and therapeutic heat. 

Acupuncture needles are so small that many people don’t feel them at all! There may be a small pinch if you are sensitive, but acupuncture needles are far smaller than hypodermic needles many of us are used to for shots and blood draws. In fact, you can fit up to 40 acupuncture needles into one hypodermic needle! 

When they insert the needle, your practitioner will use it to manipulate the muscle that needs to relax or heal. The needle will signal to your body that additional blood flow is needed in that area, and can also signal to the nerves around it to relax. Your acupuncturist may also add moxa to the top of the needle to add gentle heat to the affected area, or even use electrostimulation to help the muscle relax further! In this way, acupuncture encourages your body to heal itself by directing healing attention to the specific areas that need it the most!

Acupuncture can also relieve pain while boosting mood by releasing beta-endorphins. This is your body’s natural release of chemicals that can produce a feeling similar to morphine. When you come out of your session, it’s totally natural to feel like you’re in a daze– some people even fall asleep during their sessions! Many people come out of the room feeling like a “new person,” with less pain and stress.

Acupuncturists have an in-depth understanding of the body and muscular systems so they know exactly where to put the needles. They use their Western knowledge of anatomy, mixed with Eastern wisdom regarding meridians and trigger points, to work on getting your body and mind to relax!

Practitioners will always use sterilized needles only once, prioritizing our clients’ safety. All oils, lotions, and products are of the highest quality, so even those with sensitive skin can enjoy our treatments.

Throughout your treatment, should you have any questions, your practitioner is more than happy to answer them for you! Whether that’s a more in depth question about acupuncture, or the pain you’ve been managing, they will explain their process, how your body’s systems are connected in an Eastern and Western medicine understanding, and how you can manage your pain outside of the office between appointments.

When your session is over, the practitioner will let you know and leave the room, after carefully removing all of the needles, of course! You should always take your time to get up and dress, mindfully taking note of how your body is feeling. When you come out of the room, you can reschedule with the front desk, use the restroom, and hang out in our lobby if you’re still waking up from your post-appointment daze! At this time, your practitioner may give you additional instructions that are specific to your issue such as simple stretching, exercises, nutritional or lifestyle changes.

We always advise you to drink plenty of water the day of your acupuncture appointment, both before and after you see us. This will help the body flush out any toxins that the treatment has released!

The best way to find good acupuncturists near you is to ask other alternative medicine practitioners you may already see, such as chiropractors, massage therapists, and holistic health doctors, to see if they have a preferred referral. You can always ask within your friend and family groups as well, and as a last resort, look at Google and the reviews that people leave for the practices that pop up near you! Always call and talk to the people at the front desk to make sure that you feel comfortable with the office before booking your appointment.

If you’re around Boulder, Colorado and you’re looking for a great acupuncturist to help you with pain and stress management, give us a call or text at 720.989.1513 to learn more about our current availability and see if we would be a good fit for you!

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