What should I expect during my first visit to an acupuncturist?

Dr. Daniel Hsu, DAOM
Alternative & Complementary Medicine Specialist
For your initial consultation, the acupuncturist needs to assess your general health. You will be asked about your current symptoms and any treatment you've received so far. It is also important to gather detailed information about your medical history and that of your family, your diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional state. The purpose is to identify what needs to be addressed in order to target your specific complaint, and to boost your overall vitality.

During your first visit to an acupuncturist you will go through a health history form, a lot like the health history you go through when you have a new doctor. Through the health history the acupuncturist can learn about your condition. After that, the acupuncturist may do the following:

  • look at your tongue
  • take your pulse
  • palpate areas of your body that are painful, tender or swollen
  • come up with a diagnosis

The acupuncturist follows a specific treatment protocol. Acupuncture needles are placed, about 10 or 20 needles in an area for somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. They can be all over the body. It's very relaxing, like you're going to a spa. Afterwards, included in an acupuncture visit could be something like massage or cupping or other kinds of manual techniques that lend themselves to what the acupuncturist is doing.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.