27 Jan

We work hard to create the best possible experience for every patient who visits us here at the clinic for treatment.

With that in mind, here are some useful tips and information about what to expect from your first-time acupuncture appointment.

Before Your Appointment

It’s possible you’ll feel anxious of the unknown before your initial treatment. 

However, we want you to be confident that we will do all we can to make your experience a positive one. What can you do to help overcome this anxiety and allow yourself to have some control, which will help ease those first-time nerves?

  • Eat
    Make sure to eat a light meal or snack before treatment. On rare occasions, one may feel lightheaded or faint, and hunger pangs while relaxing is not helpful or enjoyable for you.

  • Hydrate
    Make sure you are well hydrated. You are welcome to bring water with you if you wish.

  • Wear comfortable clothing
    As your practitioner will possibly need access to your arms and legs, it will be helpful if you are able to wear clothing that enables you to easily roll up your sleeves/trouser legs and give access to your abdomen.

What to Expect

First-time appointments are often lengthy, with lots of questions focused around the health complaint you are concerned with.

For example, you will be asked to complete a full medical questionnaire to provide an overview of your medical history and we will also ask about medications and log the responses.

We’ll then ask some questions about your digestion, urinary function, sleep pattern, mental and emotional health and your menstrual cycle.

This may seem intrusive or a little off-putting, however, our intention isn’t to catch you out or embarrass you, it’s to enable us to give you an accurate diagnosis and gain a clearer understanding of how best to treat you.

These questions help us to provide a treatment that is bespoke to you, with excellent results.

Some questions may have you scratching your head and wondering why, for example:

Your health complaint may be severe menstrual cramps and you’re asked about your bowel movements?  Don’t be alarmed as these weird and odd questions help diagnose and treat your symptoms.

Tongue Diagnosis

The tongue is a microcosm of the entire body and is one of the prime diagnostic methods used within Chinese medicine to detect illness and disease. Observation of the tongue includes:

  • Shape
  • Colour
  • Coat
  • Size
  • Marks/indentations

On a lighter note, it will probably be the only time you get to stick your tongue out without offending anyone!

Pulse Diagnosis

Pulse in TCM diagnosis forms part of the four pillars of examination and the tongue is another prime diagnostic tool when determining treatment principles.

The practitioner may ask you to put your hands on a pillow and then place 3 fingers on three positions upon the wrist. Beginning with light pressure and then increasing to monitor the pulse.

Pulses are linked to organs, and can further assist in working out where in the body ill health is occurring and why.


You may be invited to sit or lay down on a treatment couch and, depending on the treatment you’re having, you may be asked to remove or roll up certain items of clothing. Towels are provided to make you feel more comfortable.

The Practitioner will make sure you are comfortable before commencing with the treatment and will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Sterile one-use only needles are applied and once they are in place, you will be asked to relax for twenty minutes or a little longer ….

You may experience emotional outpourings which can manifest as sobbing and sometimes laughter or even weird, dreamy, relaxed feelings.  Sometimes you may even feel itchy, achy, movement, warmth or weird sensations you can’t describe.  These are all normal reactions which will subside.

If you’re thinking of trying acupuncture for the first time please make sure that you seek out a professional like myself, who is qualified to practice, has years of training and is regulated and insured.

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