The needles are sterile, for one use and come in a sterilized package. After every use, they are immediately discarded.
On your first visit, expect that the practitioner to inquire about your health history. Other inquires would be about your sleeping habits and your tolerance to cold or heat, your diet and digestion. After taking your detailed health history, the practitioner will likely perform a tongue assessment and check your pulses according to TCM.
After a careful review of your detailed medical history and diagnosis, your practitioner will begin your treatment. The treatment entails the insertion of Acupuncture needles in specific points of your body. Acupuncture needles are very small, almost the width of a hair. Most patients report no sensation to insertion. Moxibustion and electrical stimulation might also included in the treatment, very much like at a chiropractor or physical therapy visit.
The first visit is normally about an hour and 15 minutes. Follow up visits are 45 minutes to an hour. At least 4-6 treatments are necessary for resolution. Like other therapies, a series of treatments needs to be completed to achieve the best results.
Six to ten treatments is the minimum for most conditions.
The needles used in acupuncture are stiff and extremely thin. Reaction varies from person to person, but for the most part the needles do not hurt. On average, the needles are only inserted ½ an inch deep.
You should prepare a detailed medical history. This would include your current and your past medications. Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages, for at least several hours before treatment because it may change the color of your tongue, which will make assessment of your tongue less accurate. As always, drink plenty of water. Avoid wearing constrictive garments.