Tel: 01707 888 229

Consulting an Acupuncturist

Consulting an Acupuncturist for the first time can be an exciting experience. Acupuncture is very safe, and you will benefit most if you allow your mind and body to relax. Acupuncture has very few side effects, and any that do occur are usually mild and self-correcting. During the first acupuncture session, the acupuncturist will aim to assess your general health and well being. The Acupuncturist will take a detailed medical history. They will explore your current symptoms and ask how the symptoms started and progressed. Questions may also relate to your past treatments, patient and family medical history, diet, digestive system, sleeping patterns and emotional health. It’s usually quite in-depth. Women are asked about their female health, past pregnancies and childbirth. You might feel that some questions appear unrelated to your condition. Still, the information you give helps your Acupuncturist form a clear picture of your overall physical and emotional health and lifestyle. Each Acupuncture treatment is unique and patient-centred.

Your presenting condition

Each time you attend for treatment, the Acupuncturist may ask you to describe in your own words how you feel, what your symptoms feel like and how severe they are. You may also be asked how long you have been having the symptoms, whether constant or intermittent and how frequent the symptoms are. It is beneficial to mention any medication you are taking and whether you have recently tried any other therapies. Exploring your presenting condition, lifestyle, and medical history help the practitioner to find the proper treatment approach and form a clear picture of your health.

Acupuncture Treatment 

The Acupuncturist will diagnose and formulate your treatment plan. Modern acupuncture needles are between four centimetres and twenty-five centimetres long. Acupuncture needles are ultra-fine, 25-50 times thinner than hypodermic needles, described as virtually painless. They are pre-sterilised, non-toxic and disposable (single use). The Acupuncture needles are gently inserted into the body, and most points are pretty manageable. In general, hands and feet tend to be more sensitive in some people. Although the Acupuncturist will take great care ensuring you are comfortable with the treatment. Acupuncture needles are typically placed in several acupuncture points and are usually left in for about twenty minutes. The goal is to normalise the circulation of Qi (pronounced Chee) and blood flow by stimulating Acupuncture points. Stimulation of these points encourages the body’s natural healing process. Acupuncture points or Energy meridians are in specific locations across the whole body. Meridian points are not always close to where you may be experiencing pain or discomfort. One example is that needles might be inserted into your foot or hand if you suffer from headaches. Stimulation can be done by gently rotating the needles or sending a weak electric current through the needles (electroacupuncture). The number of treatments depends upon the complaint, duration or severity of your health condition. Two or three treatments are often sufficient for acute (new painful) conditions. However, established conditions may indeed take longer.

Types of Acupuncture Techniques 

As well as needling acupuncture points, a traditional acupuncturist may use other Chinese medicine techniques such as:

  • moxibustion: heat is applied to an acupuncture point or meridian using moxa (a therapeutic herb) and heat lamps to warm and relax muscles and qi.
  • Chinese Cupping Therapy: glass cups with a vacuum seal are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and clear stagnant qi.
  • Tui-Na: Chinese therapeutic massage for the relief of muscle tension. Tui-Na stimulates acupressure points, opens energy meridians and stimulates qi flow.
  • Guasha: is a vigorous rubbing of the skin that increases blood flow and clears stagnant qi. 
  • Auricular Therapy (ear acupuncture)

We will evaluate your progress after each session. Some relief should be apparent in two or three sessions or six to eight sessions for more pervasive conditions. Sometimes the results are immediate. If you see encouraging signs, stick with them.

Acupuncture Do’s and Donts

The acupuncturist is likely to suggest ways to enhance the long-term effects of your treatment and may involve making changes to your diet and daily routine. If necessary, you will refer to other healthcare practitioners for specialist care. Before your first acupuncture session, there are several things you should bear in mind:

  • Choose a qualified practitioner that is registered with The British Acupuncture Council.
  • Do let your practitioner know if you are entirely new to acupuncture so they can take extra time to explain what will happen.
  • Acupuncture usually lasts 30-40 minutes, so it is essential to use the bathroom before treatment
  • Try not to go for treatment on an empty stomach or straight after a heavy meal.
  • It would help if you didn’t consume alcohol before or after treatment.
  • Always aim to complete an entire course of  Acupuncture treatment.
  • Many commonly used acupuncture points are located on the lower arms and legs, so it is helpful to wear loose clothing.
  • Acupuncture treatment may cause you to become slightly sleepy or dizzy
  • Be prepared to see some slight bruises from treatment
  • After the Acupuncture treatment, it is best to take it easy and let everyone know that you must relax for the rest of the day
  • Do not undertake strenuous exercise or let yourself get very hot or cold after the treatment


The Welwyn and Hatfield Practice - Call us on 01707 888229 acupuncture