In this episode we take on the question of “What to expect in your first acupuncture appointment.”

Today’s Everyday Acupuncture Podcast question is answered by Stacey Whitcomb of the Shift Clinic, in Bellingham, WA.


My name’s Stacy Whittcomb. I am a licensed acupuncturist in Bellingham, Washington, and I am also the host of the AcuSprout podcast. What to expect on your first acupuncture visit before I go into the details I just want to preface this with that.

We’re all. Just like any other profession, but in general, these are some things that you may expect to happen. First of all, many acupuncturists and Asian medical practitioners offer a consultation prior to your first visit. . A consultation offers you an opportunity to ask the practitioner any questions that you may have.

Questions. Like how many treatments is it going to take? How often do I have to come in? Does acupuncture hurt? , consultation is my way of making sure that we are a good fit in my practice.

I actually only take patients who are willing to participate in their healing, people who are ready for an individualized treatment plan, which may include anything from dietary changes and strengthening exercises to going to bed earlier. Okay. So on your first visit, your practitioner may suggest that you have eaten in the last couple hours and that you wear clothing that makes it easy for the practitioner to access your lower legs and arms

like a doctor visit, you’ll enter a treatment room and sit, we usually do a very thorough intake, which includes a lot of questions that seem completely unrelated to your chief complaint. That’s because acupuncture and Asian medicine is holistic. We’re looking for patterns which help guide our diagnosis.

It may seem very weird to you and yes, we do know this, but for example, that ly and bloated stomach can definitely be related to your insomnia. After the intake, we may ask you to lie on the table or sit, and we will feel the pulses in your wrists.

Like I mentioned before, this is just another piece of defining the pattern diagnosis so that we can guide our treatment properly. Then we’ll look at your tongue. You will probably feel a little silly because it can feel a little silly. And then we should have a pretty good picture of your diagnosis and put together a needle sequence to treat you at this point.

I usually explain that the first treatment is just us getting to know each other . I like to make sure that you’re comfortable with the process. I typically only use a couple needles on the first visit with minimal stimulation.

This is also a really great opportunity for me to see how your body responds to the treatment that gives me the information that guides future treatments. People’s experience of acupuncture is different.

Your stomach may growl. , your pain dissipates, your anxiety might melt away and relaxation may set in or. You could absolutely feel nothing. And that’s okay too. It all takes time. It takes time for our bodies to heal and adapt. You. Don’t go to the gym once and expect to lose 20 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle.

Lastly, after the needles are taken out, you’ll pay for the visit and reschedule. I like to get all of our visits scheduled in advance. That way I can ensure that we stick with the plan and you don’t fall behind because my schedule is too full later

After your treatment pay attention to your body. Are you sleeping better? Is your digestion better? Do you feel more calm? Great. Now go tell your friends.

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