Preparing for Your First Acupuncture Treatment

Coming in for acupuncture for the first time?  Here’s are the Frequently Asked Questions.

What should I wear for Acupuncture?acupuncture on back

People come to their acupuncture treatment dressed in everything from business suits and dresses to sweatpants. We will have gowns and towels so you can change if need be.

To be environmentally conscious to eliminate the need for single use gowns and shorts, you can wear shorts and a tank top.  Loose clothing that can roll up to the elbows and knees can also be preferred. Most acupuncture treatments begin on your arms and legs so changing is not always needed.

For specific joint pain conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain, Joseph will have to look at your posture and balance and examine for trigger points.  If is helpful to wear shorts or boxers for men and a sports bra for women.

For skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and others, Joseph will have to examine the skin.  Women may be asked to remove their makeup.

Should I eat before hand?

It is best not to be very hungry or too full for your acupuncture session. A general guideline would be eating 1-2 hours before your visit. If your appointment is in the afternoon or evening, it is important to have eaten during that day before you come in.

When should I come in?

Most people have an acupuncture session during their lunch break, after work, or on Saturdays. We have office hours from 11am-8pm Tuesday-Thursday and Saturdays 11am-3pm. It is important to schedule so that you won’t need to rush to your appointment. Come in early and enjoy a cup of tea in our comfortable waiting room.

What should I bring?

Our office has gone all electronic. If you are using insurance for acupuncture, we will collect this information prior to your visit and we have a touch less payment system.

We will e-mail you our online forms for your first acupuncture visit. Bring a list of medications you are taking and any relevant tests or lab work.

Can I work out after an acupuncture appointment?  

Most often yes, it is okay. But it can depend on the type of acupuncture treatment, so please ask during your visit.

What will I feel like after the acupuncture?

There are many unique and good feelings associated with acupuncture.  At the acupuncture you will feel dull numb feeling, movement, or other feelings.  This means the acupuncture point is stimulated.

Acupuncture is inherently relaxing and has many good side effects.  Most people will feel very light and relaxed. And often with very rapid pain relief. If we’re working on tight muscles or trigger points, those areas may be sore after acupuncture.

How long does a visit take? 

During the initial visit we will have a examination and treatment.  I will take your pulses and look at your tongue as well. The initial appointment lasts about 75-90 minutes. Follow up appointments are usually under one hour.

How long is the Acupuncture?

It all depends on what we’re treating and the nature of the imbalances.

Most often, the acupuncture needles are retained in the acupuncture points for 20-30 minutes.  Traditionally we say it takes 30 minutes for the qi, the body’s energy, to circulate in the channels.

But if it is an acute situation, such as a back spasm, it is generally better to leave the acupuncture needles in for 15 minutes or less.  This is because the muscles will relax quicker in an acute injury like a back spasm.

When the energy is weak, what we call qi deficiency, it is better to leave the needles in for a longer period of time, such as 35 or 40 minutes in some cases.  This provides and opportunity for the body to work on improving the energy.

When using electro-acupuncture, as I often do for pain, 20 minutes has been shown to be the optimal amount of time for pain relief and reduction of inflammation.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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