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What is an Acupuncture Treatment Like?

Before going to an acupuncturist you must see your own family doctor. He might be able to give you a referral and further information. Your doctor can provide you with information on any conflicts of treatments you may experience when going through with the treatment. Also have your doctor check you out, because the complaint you want to be treated with acupuncture may very well be a symptom of something other going on in your body.

Before having the actual treatment appointment it is common that the client/patient fills out a complete questionnaire on the health history. Then the acupuncturist will have an intake interview with the client/patient where questions about the health concerns, lifestyle issues, nutrition, menstrual cycles, sleep, stress, emotions, appetite and sensitivity to food and seasons are being answered. When having this talk, the acupuncturist examines the client/patient. This is very different from what you are used to from your family doctor. The acupuncturist looks at things like the color of your face, the color of your tongue and your voice is noted. Also the acupuncturist will evaluate three pulse points, which are at your wrists, in order to make a determination concerning the health of the meridians.

When the interview is done, the acupuncturist will make the diagnosis and start the treatment. You will be asked to lie down or sit comfortably. Acupuncture may be performed on your back or front, on arms or legs. Commonly there are 6-12 needles used during the treatment. The amount of needles used has nothing to do with the intensity of the treatment. It is not the number of needles, but the placement of the needles which makes the difference, so placement must be very precise.

When the needles are being inserted, there may be a little feeling of a sting, but once the needles are in place there is nothing to feel. This makes the treatment very comfortable and if there is any feeling of discomfort or pain you have to tell the acupuncturist right away so he can act upon it.

The duration of a treatment can vary from a few seconds up to over an hour. The average length of treatment is about twenty to thirty minutes. During this time you may see the acupuncturist perform the following techniques:

  • Moxibustion, which means local heating up by use of dry herb sticks which activate and warm the acupuncture point
  • Cupping, which means there are some glass suction cups being put on your body. This is necessary to relieve any blockages of chi and blood
  • Electrostimulation, means that two to four needles are being stimulated electrically, which can be used for muscle pains or other pain relief
  • Laser acupuncture, which means non-needle stimulation of acupuncture points
  • Herbal medicine, there may be some herbal medicine provided such as herbal tea, pills or capsules to make a supplement to the treatment
Once the treatment is over, the acupuncturist advises you on any further treatments, if needed and maybe provide you with some further advice on prevention or other alternative treatments.

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