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Many first time patients don't know what to expect at their first visit. With various styles of acupuncture available and wide variety of techniques at the disposal of Registered Acupuncturists, here are some of the most common tips to know.
Don't go in on an empty stomach.
It's a good idea to have eaten something within a few hours before treatment. It isn’t necessary to have a full meal, but at least a snack can help your body have enough energy to maximize the treatment’s potential. Receiving acupuncture on an empty stomach may lead to lightheadedness, dizziness or even fainting.
To receive acupuncture, you may not need to remove your clothes like you would for a massage.
Acupuncturists may need to access areas under your clothes, but they will properly drape you so that only small portions of skin are exposed. However, they do recommend wearing loose clothing so that sleeves can be rolled up above the elbows and pant legs can be pulled up above the knees.
You may be asked to show your tongue, have your pulse taken and have your abdomen pressed.
Acupuncturists are interested in the state of your internal organs, and using these methods they can determine the best treatment for you. Different areas of the tongue, radial pulse and abdomen correspond to different organ systems of the body.
Expect personal questions.
In addition to physical examination, Tracy will question you about various topics regarding your health and lifestyle. Often, these questions will include asking for detailed descriptions of your bowel movements, urination, and menstruation for women. The more details you're able to give, the better their diagnosis, so it's worth paying attention to if you didn't beforehand!
Acupuncture needles are much thinner than hypodermic needles.
If the thought of needles turns you off, keep in mind that acupuncture needles are about the width of two to three strands of hair and are actually quite flexible. Often people are surprised how little they feel both at insertion and after they are in place. In fact, it is not uncommon for clinics to be full of snoring patients.
Acupuncturists don't reuse needles.
In Canada, acupuncturists only use single use, sterilized acupuncture needles. This means there is a virtually no chance you will contract a disease from receiving acupuncture and because the needles are made of very thin and flexible surgical grade stainless steel means less pain.
Acupuncturists use more than needles.
Though needles may be their main tool, most acupuncturists have learned a variety of other therapies falling under the label of "Chinese Medicine" such as acupressure (pressure instead of needles over acupuncture points), Tuina (massage), Guasha (scraping of the skin), cupping (suction of the skin), Moxibustion (heating of the skin), or Qi Gong (energy healing). Depending on your diagnosis, and your comfort level, you may get more than just needles at your visit.