A Beginner’s Guide To Acupuncture: What To Expect On Your First Visit

A beginner’s guide to acupuncture – What to expect on your first visit

Welcome to the world of acupuncture! If you’re considering this ancient practice for the first time, you might feel a mix of excitement and nervousness. Fear not, I’m here to help walk you through what to expect on your first acupuncture visit, helping you feel prepared and at ease.

Before Your Appointment

Choosing the Right Practitioner

The first step in your acupuncture journey is finding a suitable acupuncturist. Some things that are worth considering are:

  • AHPRA registered – all Australian acupuncturists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency
  • Qualifications – I’ve completed a 4 year Bachelor of Health Science (Chinese Medicine), along with ongoing annual training requirements needed to stay registered
  • Private health insurance rebates – I’m able to process rebates at the time of the appointment if you have a policy that covers acupuncture, saving the hassle of online claiming
  • Availability – I’m available 5 days a week, and offer after hours appointments on a Tuesday and Thursday evening, as well as being open Saturdays

Preparing for Your Visit

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes as acupuncture points are located all over the body. It’s best not to eat a heavy meal just before coming in, as it can feel a bit uncomfortable, especially if you need to be treated face down. And keep an open mind! If you’ve never had acupuncture before, you may be a bit nervous. But remember, acupuncture is a practice that encourages the body’s natural healing processes and seeks to restore balance both physically and mentally. It is generally a pretty relaxing experience, once you get past the initial jitters!


Arriving at the Clinic

We’ll start off with getting you to fill out some paperwork, so arriving 5-10 minutes before your appointment time will give you enough space to complete this without cutting into your valuable treatment time.

During the 1st appointment, we will spend 10-20mins delving into your health history, and the issue that has brought you to the clinic. We will talk about what your health and wellness goals are and what you’d like to achieve out of your treatments. I’ll discuss with you what a preliminary treatment plan will look like, but this may change as we go through the first few sessions and I see how you’re responding.

During this initial assessment I may take your pulse and have a look at your tongue (both of which are important Chinese medicine diagnostic tools), and check on any areas of pain you may be experiencing.


The Acupuncture Session

Now, the main event: the acupuncture session. Here’s what to expect:

  1. Needle Insertion: I’ll insert thin needles into specific points on your body. This process is generally painless, though you might feel a slight pinch, a sensation of warmth, or a dull heaviness at the insertion points.
  2. During the Session: Once the needles are in place, you’ll be left to relax for about 20-30 minutes. It’s normal to feel a deep sense of relaxation or even fall asleep during this time. I’ll make sure you’re comfortable before I leave the room, and always come back in halfway through to check you’re still doing ok.
  3. Sensation Expectations: Each person’s experience is unique. Some feel energized, while others feel deeply relaxed. Go with how you feel, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to make you more comfortable.


After the session

Post-treatment, most patients feel a sense of calm and relaxation. Some people report feeling a bit tired or drowsy, so it’s a good idea to avoid planning strenuous activities right after your session. It’s best to avoid any heavy exercise like weights or running straight after, but light exercise (swimming, walking, yoga) is fine.

Post-Treatment Care: Drink plenty of water to help flush out any toxins released during the session. Light walking or gentle stretching can also be beneficial.


Follow-Up and Continued Care

After your first session, I’ll discuss a treatment plan with you. This might include suggestions for follow-up appointments and lifestyle or dietary recommendations.

Remember, acupuncture is a cumulative process, and benefits are often more profound after several sessions.


 If you would like any information about how acupuncture and herbal medicine may be able to help you, feel free to contact me at the clinic on 03 8774 5588 or at lachlan@lachlanmcdonaldacupuncture.com.au. Alternatively, you can book an acupuncture appointment online.