So you have taken the leap and booked your first acupuncture treatment.  Now you are wondering what to expect.  Here are the 6 things you can expect at an acupuncture treatment with any acupuncturist with whom you book.6 things you can expect at an acupuncture treatment

  1. Thorough Consultation                                                                                                                 

Your first acupuncture treatment will involve the acupuncturist taking a full consultation covering your current symptoms, medical history, sleep pattern, appetite and digestion and emotional well-being.  If you are a woman you will also be asked about your menstrual cycle, previous pregnancies and childbirth. (Read more: “Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?”)

  1. Holistic Treatment

Acupuncture is a holistic therapy, taking all aspects of the person into account.  You may, therefore, be asked questions which appear to you to be unrelated to the matter at hand.  Please don’t feel this is a waste of your time, relax and go with it. Your acupuncturist is trying to build a complete picture of your health and lifestyle.

  1. Pulses and Tongues

Your acupuncturist will then ask to look at your tongue.  This can give her information such as whether there is Cold, Damp or Heat in your body and which organs it is affecting.  She will also take Chinese Medicine pulses; these are three pulses on each wrist relating to different organs.  She may also feel for muscle pain and tightness.

  1. Your Main Complaint

You will be asked to describe your main complaint in your own words.  Your acupuncturist will want to know what your symptoms are, how severe they are, whether constant or intermittent, the frequency, whether the time of day affects them.  She will also want to know what makes it worse or better.

  1. Treatment

Your acupuncturist will put all this information together to form a diagnosis and a treatment plan, which may also include diet and lifestyle changes.  She will then use very fine pre-sterilised, single-use needles to effect changes within the meridians in your body.  Some points may not be near the point of pain, for instance if you come with recurring headaches do not be surprised to find that needles are being put in your foot.

  1. After-Effects

Most people find acupuncture relaxing and often feel very calm after a treatment. You may feel a little tired or sleepy and should take this into account if you are planning to drive or use heavy machinery straight after your treatment.

You should refrain from vigorous exercise after treatment and, ideally, give yourself a little time to rest. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for several hours after treatment.  Acupuncture has very few side effects and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting.


To read about the 8 things you should do to get the best from your acupuncture treatment please read here.

Please read the Acupuncture section of my website for acupuncture treatment information as to what you can expect at your first treatment.


Jackie Graham is a licensed acupuncturist working in Ealing W5 and W13.  She is passionate about helping people towards good health.  For an appointment email her at or call her on 07733274745.

You can also find Jackie at Bridge to Health, Ealing.



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