Do I need to prepare for an acupuncture treatment? How long do the needles stay in? What about afterwards?
It is better not to have an acupuncture treatment if you are very hungry or too full. Some practitioners also advise against a treatment if you are extremely fatigued or emotionally upset. Wear clothing you are comfortable in: you will probably need to pull your pants up above your knees, and women will need to remove pantyhose. Before treatment, make sure you understand everything the practitioner tells you about your condition and how s/he plans to treat you. If you are interested in learning about your condition from a Chinese medicine perspective, ask questions. During treatment, relax as much as possible. Do not move suddenly or reposition yourself without the aid of the practitioner. Many people find acupuncture so relaxing that they fall asleep during treatment.
After the needles are placed, they will stay in twenty to thirty minutes. The acupuncturist will make you comfortable and will check in with you about halfway through the treatment. For an initial visit, when the practitioner needs to take a detailed history from you, you should allow one hour for the entire procedure. Follow-up visits generally take 40 – 45 minutes.
Patient responses after treatment are quite varied. Some people do not notice any unusual sensations at all afterwards. Some people feel very energized, and some feel the need to go right to bed and sleep. Many people continue to notice sensations in their body like energy traveling around, even after the needles are removed. Ideally, you will notice a reduction in your symptoms after treatment, and will feel better. Some patients have a dramatic improvement immediately after treatment, but most patients make steady improvements over time.