Your First Acupuncture Treatment, What to Expect

How exciting! You've scheduled your first acupuncture appointment or maybe you're thinking about it. Either way, here's what to expect from your first acupuncture treatment.

Please keep in mind that this information is specific to my practice. However, I am sure it is similar to other practitioners in the field. Particularly those that practice Classical or Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Learn more about the different types of acupuncture in my article, "How to Choose an Acupuncturist."

Continue reading below or click the image to watch my video!

Your First Appointment

For your first appointment, plan to spend an hour to an hour and a half with your practitioner.

After booking your appointment, you'll receive standard paperwork. Most offices have their paperwork online or you'll receive them via email.

This paperwork will ask about:

  • Current health
  • Primary concern
  • Lifestyle choices including exercise, diet, tobacco and alcohol use, and sleep habits
  • Health History, including hair/skin/nails, ear/nose/throat, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, musculoskeletal, and neurological
  • Reproductive Health (Men and Women)
  • Current medications/supplements/herbs

You'll also receive a privacy policy, consent, and clinic policies forms for review and signature.

The Day of Your Appointment

When you arrive for your appointment, you'll be greeted by an office assistant or your practitioner. You'll then be led to a private room. Your practitioner will review your paperwork. They will then ask detailed questions about your main concern. A conversation about your health history will also take place.

For your first visit, it may be tempting to want to address two, three, or even four concerns. Do your best to choose one main concern. This will help focus your treatment.

Diagnostic Review

Once the discussion is complete, your tongue and pulse will be reviewed. These are diagnostic tools that Chinese Medical practitioners use to gain more insight into the current state of your body. As well as how your body is functioning, and how each system is working together.

Upon review of your tongue and pulse, your practitioner may have further questions.

Your Treatment

After the initial discussion and diagnostic review are complete, your treatment will begin. You'll be asked to lay on a massage table either face up, face down, or on your side. This depends on your primary concern and how the practitioner will best address it.

In addition to receiving acupuncture, your practitioner may also include adjunct techniques your treatment. This may include gua sha, cupping, moxibustion, bodywork and/or application of essential oils.

When your treatment is complete, the practitioner will leave the room. You'll rest for approximately 15-30 minutes. This is a great time to move into a calm internal space. You can do this by breathing deeply, meditating, or even falling into a deep sleep.

After your rest, the acupuncture needles will be removed. Your practitioner may then make recommendations for further addressing your concern. This may include internal or external herbal therapies, movement therapies, self-care, meditation techniques, or other suggestions.

Your practitioner may also provide you with a treatment plan. This includes the number of treatments needed to resolve your concern and the time in which they expect your concern to be resolved.

That's it. You had your first acupuncture treatment!


Take your time transitioning back into your day.

I hope that your experience is positive and beneficial. I encourage you to reflect on the treatment experience. You can do this through journaling and/or talking with friends.

If you'd like to share, comment below and let me know about your first acupuncture treatment!

Final Note

Come prepared to your appointment by reading the following one sheet, Before your First Appointment.

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Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.