Saturday, 23 January 2010 09:51

Acupuncture: What to Expect

Written by Brent Barness
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First Session

Your first acupuncture visit will involve an in-depth assessment of your condition and usually includes a same day initial treatment. The intake and treatment usually take an hour or so but we ask that you show up about 20 min early to your first visit to help us complete the paperwork. Typically follow-up acupuncture treatments require approximately 30-50 minutes.

During the assessment, you may be asked about things that you might not think are connected to your chief complaint, such as your emotions, sleeping patterns, and eating habits. Our focus is on holistic health and healing not just one isolated symptom. As the signs and symptoms being experienced become better understood they reveal patterns of disharmony. These patterns are crucial to long-term personalized results and for the development of an effective treatment protocol. Although the acupuncture treatment will focus on your chief complaint, your life as a whole must be considered in order to develop the most appropriate course of a treatment program which include diet and exercise among other lifestyle practices. Our focus on a holistic approach includes an appreciation of common universal patterns or symptoms, but each individual will express these patterns of disharmony in a way that is unique to their constitution.

Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture treatment will vary depending on the individual or the condition and may include a combination of acupuncture, herbal therapy, tuina massage and/or cupping. Acupuncture needles are typically retained for about 15-30 minutes. Our goal is to offer a healthy and comfortable treatment environment which may include soothing music or aromatherapy to help you relax during this time. Some people may find themselves falling asleep during their acupuncture treatment.

What to expect after your acupuncture treatment

After your acupuncture treatment is complete some find their relief to be immediate, for others it may be delayed for a few hours or even become noticeable after a few days. Relief may last for a few hours on the first visit and then last longer with each successive treatment, or relief may last from the first treatment until your next visit. Individual responses to acupuncture varies. One should keep in mind that for any therapy we must work with the body's natural cycles and the body tends to show substantial physiological changes after about 90 days. As mentioned results often occur much sooner but when considering long-term planning we should look beyond instant success so that we begin creating a lifestyle that is more peaceful and productive.

Acupuncture Side Effects

Side effects to acupuncture are rare, but may include the following: feeling lightheaded, dizziness, sleepiness, euphoria, nausea, slight bruising around insertion point, residual muscle aches. Most side effects should only last a short time and should be reported to your practitioner at your next visit. Being comfortable and relaxing during treatment will help reduce potential side effects. Staying hydrated after your treatment will help to minimize these side effects, as will resting after your treatment. Any side effects should be reported at your next visit so we can further reduce the opportunity for them to occur.


On rare occasions, one’s original symptoms may briefly get worse, or “flare-up,” after a treatment. A flare-up typically occurs later on the day of your treatment and should only last for a few hours. After a flare-up, your symptoms should begin to improve. In the long run, acupuncture does not make symptoms worse and again any therapy requires the investment of time.

In some conditions, the body must fully expel a pathogen in order for healing to occur. For example, if you have a cold or flu, acupuncture will not get rid of the condition, but it can often reduce symptoms while accelerating the cold/flu cycle so your body recovers faster. If you are fatigued and beginning to get a cold or the flu, acupuncture can often help your body fight it off.

In cases of chronic pain, the origi nal pain may improve and then unmask less obvious pain in the surrounding areas or sometime opposite sides/areas of the body which have been compensating for the current condition.

Course of Acupuncture Treatments

As part of your program, you will receive a customized treatment plan detailing an appropriate course of treatment for your specific condition. In general, acute conditions of recent onset may only require two or three treatments. Chronic conditions usually require more treatments to achieve sustained results. A course of treatment may also involve a more sustaining long term course, depending on your personal goals.

The ideal approach to illness is to begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help, the easier it is to treat. For longstanding illnesses, weekly ac upuncture treatments may be required for several months in order to have a substantial curative effect.

Once we initiate a healing process it is important for us to follow through on treatments. The more consistent we are, the better the likelihood of results. Again as any therapy the effects of acupuncture tend to be cumulative. After we begin feeling better, additional treatments may be recommended beyond the absence of symptoms. Once the symptoms have been addressed our focus is on a reinforcing the constitution which is the body's "normal" healthy state. Our goal should be to further strengthen your body to prevent recurrence of the illness.

Our bodies can vulnerable following recovery from illness because it has expended much of its energy and internal resources in order to get rid of the previous illness. It is therefore important to have acupuncture treatment to help prevent repeated or new illnesses. In general, when an illness recurs it is often more difficult to treat so we should not sit and wait to see how thing progress before seeking support. Remember our goal is to help make Everspring Health an vested resource for us to pursue the goals we have set for a better life.

One of the most under-appreciated benefits of any therapy, including acupuncture, is the ability to improve life beyond just getting rid of disease. We can brush our teeth to help fight cavities but we can also brush our teeth to help develop a nice healthy smile we love to share with those around us. The same is true for the resources Everspring Health provides. Acupuncture can help get rid of conditions but it can also help us prevent them from coming back or even more so help us perform above and beyond our expectations.

Preparing for your Session

The following suggestions are provided to help you have a safe and relaxing experience with acupuncture. Please read this section carefully. If you have any questions, feel free to email us prior to your first visit.

  • Please bring a list of current medications you are taking, including any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, and vitamins.
  • Please bring any lab or medical reports relevant to your condition.
  • Eat a light meal a few hours prior to your visit. Acupuncture is not performed on individuals who are fasting. Being over-hungry increases the risk of nausea or dizziness. At the same time, please do not overeat or eat any foods that cause your stomach to be upset (for example, rich, greasy, fried, or extremely spicy foods).
  • Avoid alcohol on the day of your treatment. Acupuncture is not performed on intoxicated individuals due to the increased risk of shock. It is also not advisable to become intoxicated shortly after treatment.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Acupuncture points are located all over the body. Many of the acupuncture points that are commonly used are located between the wrists and elbows and the ankles and knees. You will be more comfortable if your clothing can be easily rolled up to your elbows and knees.


Last modified on Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:24
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