What to Expect at Your First Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture relieves stress | Rivertown AcupunctureIf you’ve never received acupuncture treatment before, you may have many questions about what to expect at your first session. Here’s an overview of how the first consultation at Rivertown Acupuncture typically goes, along with a brief explanation about my philosophy regarding holistic acupuncture treatment.

Before coming in for your initial appointment, we’ll ask you to fill out the necessary preliminary forms, such as documents related to HIPAA and your health and medical history, and send them to me. You can find these forms on both the Home Page (following the fourth paragraph) and the Contact/Directions section of our website (on the right hand side of the page). This gives me a chance to review your medical history before you arrive and offers me some insight when we meet to discuss your primary complaint. If you’re experiencing pain and it’s muscular in nature, then our first in-person Q&A is typically very brief.

If you’re coming in for help with chronic issues, however, I may want to have a more investigatory conversation with you. In such cases, we need to determine whether the health concern you’re reporting is idiopathic (arising from an unknown cause) or whether it is being caused by an underlying condition. After that part of the assessment, I might look at your tongue and take your pulse. If the pain you’re reporting is musculoskeletal, I will ask you to show me where the trouble spot is located. In all cases, my approach is to try and treat the root causes of the problem rather than to simply try and manage the pain.

I’ll also explain my philosophy regarding acupuncture treatment and how patient behavior can contribute to a successful outcome. I’ll share with you some perspective on how our bodies are built to heal themselves, that they want to heal themselves, and that you must accept this fact to actively help with your own healing. This is true even with treatments in Western medicine, which at a minimum require a certain amount of faith that the treatment is going to help you. Without this acceptance, you are actively working against your own treatment and success may be limited.

In terms of specific acupuncture treatments that I might prescribe as a result of the diagnostic conversation, they will vary depending on the health issue. Someone with a simple problem, like a back that has been thrown out, may only need a one-time treatment. In cases like this, I invite patients to see how they feel in the days following and let us know if they feel they need any further treatment.

For other conditions, such as tinnitus, anxiety, or a stroke, I may recommend a series of treatments that can then be tapered off as the condition resolves itself. For complaints about more serious internal issues such as side effects of cancer and chemotherapy, or abdominal disorders, Japanese Acupuncture (Kiiko Matsumoto) techniques may be the more effective course to help treat the problem.

Whatever your health concern, whether it’s a specific ailment like a rotator cuff injury or something undefined like a mystery illness, my goal during the first consultation is to help identify the underlying condition that is causing the issue and devise a plan of treatment that will address that root cause as well as the symptoms it generates. If you are suffering from a health problem that could benefit from a holistic path of treatment, feel free to contact us for an initial appointment to get started.