Many people wonder what to expect on their first visit to an acupuncturist. It is typically a bit longer than the other visits as acupuncturists do a full intake. It takes awhile to look, to listen, to palpate and make a diagnosis. There are lots of questions. Practitioners may spend anywhere from a little over an hour to four or five hours if they practice 5 Element Acupuncture.
After the acupuncturist does a full intake, looks at the tongue and feels the pulses, they will generally begin the treatment. Points exist all over the body so whether a person is face up or face down depends upon their condition and their acupuncturist. Once a person is comfortably seated or lying down, the acupuncturist will insert the needles.
Sometimes people do feel the needles. Sometimes they don’t. It depends upon the person. After the needles are inserted, an acupuncturist will often manipulate the needle, twisting from side to side or moving it up and down to obtain a sensation known as “di qi”, which means that the qi has come to that point and either been tonified or dispersed, depending upon the condition and needs of the patient.
After the needles are in the person typically lays on the table for about 20 minutes or so while the needles do their job. The acupuncturist will most typically leave, checking on the patient from time to time. When the time is up, the needles are removed. The patient rarely feels the needles being removed. At that point, the patient can get up and get dressed or the acupuncturist might do some massage, particularly if it is a pain condition.
After the treatment, it is best to refrain from drinking alcohol or heavy exercise for several hours as this can interfere with the results. It is recommended that the patient drink plenty of water and notice how their body feels. Some people feel more energized and want to do more while others feel unusually relaxed and perhaps a bit on the tired side. Each patient should honor how their body feels.