For those who’ve never experienced it, acupuncture sounds kind of counter intuitive. The practice of having small needles inserted into different areas of your body shouldn’t lead to relaxation and stress relief, but it is what it is. Studies demonstrate that acupuncture does the job, providing benefits for patients’ mental health, blood flow, pain, stress and inflammation on the body.
Bustle reports that, for first timers, going to the acupuncturist should be a very similar experience than going to any other doctor. Daniela Freda, licensed acupuncturist, claims that first time patients should expect a discussion and review of their symptoms and an analysis of their medical history. After that, “the acupuncturist will perform a Chinese Medicine examination by taking the wrist pulse and looking at the tongue. Then, they will determine the treatment plan and administer the acupuncture.”
The most stressful part of an acupuncture appointment is obviously the needles. We’ve been conditioned to associate them with pain and discomfort, but acupuncture needles are much thinner than regular ones. According to Freda, the needles cause much less sensation than others. A lot of people also wonder about the risk of infection that comes with using needles, which Freda claims that is a moot concern since licensed acupuncturist are required to use sterilized needles only once.
A licensed acupuncturist will talk you through the entire process and will probably “insert about ten needles in different parts of the body and the needles are retained for twenty to thirty minutes.” The experience is also meant to be relaxing, where there rooms are private and filled with soft music and dimmed lights.
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Like most alternate methods of medicine, acupuncture is a personal experience that largely depends on your level of comfort with the practice. For the most part though, patients claim that it produces almost magical results. “I went in expecting to see little, if any, improvement. Immediately after that first session, I felt calm and slightly pleasantly disoriented. I felt some immediate pain relief, but it was subtle. What had been a deep, throbbing pain was now more of a dull, steady ache,” said an acupuncture patient. A lot of people agree.