What to expect at your first appointment

Welcome!  I am honored that you have entrusted me with your healthcare needs and look forward to partnering with you as you seek optimal health.  Because this system of healthcare is unlike other types of care you’ve received, it is natural to have questions.  Please read on for more information about what to expect.

  • You should take your regular medications prior to and during the course of your acupuncture treatment.  As your condition improves, you may be able to reduce or eliminate medications, but this should only be done with the advice and consent of your doctor.
  • Depending on the complexity of your health concern, your initial appointment will last 60-90 minutes.  Subsequent sessions will last 45-60 minutes.
  • Please wear loose, comfortable clothing with pants that can be rolled up to the knee.
  • Out of consideration for other patients (many of whom are sensitive to odors and chemicals) please do not wear perfume, cologne, strongly scented lotion, or insect repellant when you come for your appointment.
  • It is best to eat a light meal or snack an hour or two prior to your appointment – you will be most comfortable if you are neither hungry nor stuffed.
  • Acupuncture needles are very thin and flexible – about the diameter of a cat’s whisker. Some people feel nothing at all when the needles are inserted; others experience a sensation similar to a mosquito bite, followed by a mild aching or tingling sensation. Acupuncture does not feel like getting a shot or having blood drawn.
  • During and after your treatment you may feel relaxed, slightly “spacey”, or pleasantly energized.  Some people feel nothing at all.  All of these reactions are considered normal.
  • You can return to work or your regular responsibilities after your treatment, but it is best to avoid heavy physical exertion and other forms of body work (massage, chiropractic, or yoga) for 12-18 hours after your acupuncture session.
  • You may notice relief of your health concern in the hours or days following your session or it may take several sessions to experience a change.  In the majority of cases a clear benefit is evident within 3-4 sessions (although more sessions may be required to thoroughly resolve the problem).
  • In most instances weekly treatment for four to six weeks will be recommended, but in some cases more frequent treatment is helpful.  You will be given more detailed information about the projected course of treatment for your condition at your appointment.  It is my goal to wrap up your treatment as quickly as possible – you will not be pressured to continue coming for treatment indefinitely.
  • In less than 5% of cases, patients experience an aggravation of symptoms for 24-48 hours following a treatment.  This is a good sign that the treatment is working and is almost always followed by significant improvement.  This type of healing reaction is more likely to occur in sensitive, intuitive, or highly strung people; in people with a history of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; and/or in individuals who are in the habit of “stuffing” negative emotions.  If any of these factors are applicable to you, please alert me so that I can approach your treatment will particular sensitivity (you will not be asked to reveal or discuss details of this aspect of your history unless you wish to).
  • Please feel free to let me know if you have questions or concerns!

For more information, please read these articles written by my colleague and Huffington Post columnist Sara Calabro:

Eight Things to Remember Before Your Acupuncture Appointment
How to Take Care of Yourself After Acupuncture