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What You Should Know Before Your First Treatment

1. ACUPUNCTURE TREATS MORE THAN PAIN
Not only can acupuncture help treat the common cold and stomach viruses, according to the World Health Organization, it is helpful for a wide variety of problems including mental and emotional stress, cancer, skin diseases, neurological disorders, dentistry, infections, childbirth, and gout to name a few.


2. DON'T GET ACUPUNCTURE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
It isn’t necessary to have a full meal, but at least a snack can help your body have enough energy to maximize the treatment’s potential. Receiving acupuncture on an empty stomach may lead to lightheadedness, dizziness or even fainting.


3. TO RECEIVE ACUPUNCTURE, YOU  WILL NOT NEED TO REMOVE YOUR CLOTHES LIKE YOU WOULD FOR A MASSAGE 
Acupuncturists may need to access areas under your clothes, but will properly drape you so that only small portions of skin are exposed. However, we do recommend wearing loose clothing so that sleeves can be rolled up above the elbows and pant legs can be pulled up above the knees.


4. YOU MAY BE ASKED TO SHOW YOUR TONGUE AND HAVE YOUR PULSE TAKEN 
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, different areas of the tongue, and the radial pulse of both wrists correspond to different organ systems of the body. Acupuncturists use the tongue and pulse as part of the initial diagnostic process, and they can be used to measure progress in the treatments that follow.


5. EXPECT QUESTIONS THAT ARE SEEMINGLY UNRELATED TO YOUR COMPLAINT
In addition to physical examination, most acupuncturists will question you about various topics regarding your health and lifestyle. Often, these questions will include asking for detailed descriptions of things like your sleep patterns, temperature preferences, digestive issues and more. Though these questions may seem like they’re totally ‘out of left field’, your answers contain information that is extremely useful for your acupuncturist to select the best treatment plan.


6. ACUPUNCTURE NEEDLES ARE MUCH THINNER THAN HYPODERMIC NEEDLES
If the thought of needles turns you off, keep in mind that acupuncture needles are about the width of two to three strands of hair and are actually quite flexible. Often people are surprised how little they feel both at insertion and after they are in place. In fact, it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep!


7. ACUPUNCTURISTS DON'T REUSE NEEDLES
If you are getting treated in the United States, the needles your acupuncturist uses on you have never been used on other patients. This means there is a virtually no chance of contracting an infection from receiving acupuncture. Licensed acupuncturists in the U.S. are strictly trained in procedures to minimize risk from bloodborne pathogens and maintain a clean and safe environment.


8. ACUPUNCTURISTS USE MORE THAN NEEDLES
Though needles may be their main tool, most acupuncturists have learned a variety of other therapies falling under the label of "Chinese Medicine" such as acupressure (pressure instead of needles over acupuncture points), Electrical Stimulation (similar to TENS, leads are attached to select needles) Tuina (massage), Guasha (scraping of the skin), cupping (suction of the skin), Moxibustion (heating of the skin), Chinese herbs or Qi Gong (gentle exercises similar to Tai Chi). Depending on your diagnosis, and your comfort level, you may get more than just needles at your visit. 


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