Before having your first acupuncture treatment, there are numerous things you should keep in mind. Most acupuncture points are situated on the legs and lower arms, so it’s important to wear clothes that will allow easy access to such areas. Moreover, avoid going for treatment while hungry or right away after taking a heavy meal. Let your acupuncturist know if you’re completely new to the therapy so they can clearly explain what the procedure entails and ensure you’re comfortable with the treatment process.
During the first acupuncture session, your practitioner needs to thoroughly understand your main complaint, lifestyle, and general health. This involves asking specific questions about the symptoms you’re currently experiencing, your medical history, appetite, digestion, emotional well-being, and medical history. Women are sometimes required to tell about their menstrual cycle, childbirth, and previous pregnancies.
You may feel that certain questions appear irrelevant to your condition but the details you provide will help your acupuncturist to get a comprehensive picture of your lifestyle and general health. Your practitioner will also check your pulse on both wrists and might also examine your tongue for pain and muscular tension.
The Major Health Complaint
When talking to your practitioner about your main complaint, you may have to describe the nature of your symptoms as well as their severity. You might also be required to tell how long your symptoms have lasted and whether they’re intermittent or frequent. You should also mention your medical history.
For your practitioner to make a comprehensive diagnosis and formulate the right treatment plan, he or she will need to know specific details regarding your medical history, lifestyle, symptoms, and overall body function and activity.
Based on the provided information, your therapist will make an exhaustive diagnosis and devise an individualized treatment plan, which might include dietary changes, lifestyle, and acupuncture. Your practitioner utilizes sterile, single-use, disposable needles to stimulate chosen acupuncture points. Since energy meridians are available throughout the body, the selected points aren’t necessarily close to places where you feel pain or discomfort. For instance, if you regularly experience headaches, needles may be placed in your hands or feet.
Techniques Used During Acupuncture
In addition to needling acupuncture points, an acupuncturist might use other traditional Chinese techniques like:
- Gua sha: This involves vigorous rubbing of the skin to accelerate blood flow and clear stagnant qi.
- Moxibustion: Intense heat is applied to acupuncture points or meridians using a therapeutic herb or heat lamps in order to warm or relax the muscles as well as qi.
- Cupping: Several glass cups equipped with vacuum seals are placed on the affected area to stimulate blood flow.
- Tuina: this therapeutic massage alleviates muscle tension, opens energy meridians, stimulates acupressure points, and stimulates energy flow.
Your acupuncturist may suggest certain measures that can boost the long-term effects of your medication. This might involve adopting dietary and lifestyle changes. If necessary, you’ll be referred to other medical practitioners for specialized care.
Most patients find acupuncture to be relaxing and often feel extremely calm after treatment. However, you might feel a little bit sleepy or tired, so you should be careful if you’re planning to drive or handle heavy machinery right after receiving your treatment. It’s also important that you avoid vigorous exercises after treatment. Give yourself enough time to rest and stay away from alcohol for some time.
Acupuncture doesn’t have any serious side effects and those that occur are often mild and self-correcting. Gua sha and cupping might sometimes leave temporary marks on the skin. These bruisings are painless and usually disappear naturally within two days.