What to Expect During your First Visit to an Acupuncturist
Although each acupuncturist’s process will vary, there are a number of things you can expect at your first appointment.
Before your treatment
As a new patient, you will be asked to complete some paperwork, including a full medical history questionnaire. Topics on the form may include:
- Personal and family medical history
- Major illnesses you have experienced
- Surgeries or operations you have had
- Medications you are taking
- A description of your present condition
- The steps you have taken to manage your condition
- Your diet and exercise
- Your sleeping habits, daily activities, work routine, stress level, and home life
Your acupuncturist will then review this information and discuss it with you in a one-on-one consultation. This is your opportunity to express your health concerns and expectations, and to ask any questions you may have. At this point, your acupuncturist will also explain his or her role in your health care.
As with other therapeutic interventions, your acupuncturist will perform a physical exam that will include orthopaedic testing, reflex assessments, and muscle testing. The results of this exam will help your acupuncturist to create an individualized treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
Your acupuncturist will insert small, sterile needles into targeted anatomical locations. The location of the needles depends entirely on your treatment goals. Treatment duration may vary from a few seconds in an uncomplicated case of recent onset, to up to 20 or 30 minutes.
Acupuncture treatments may be a one-time intervention, a daily treatment, or weekly/bi-weekly occurrences. Again, treatment frequency will depend on your condition and your goals. Your practitioner may recommend monthly maintenance treatments for chronic cases. Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is also often used along with other chiropractic techniques such as adjustments, soft tissue work, or rehabilitation.