By Eloise Goodwin, R.TCMP, R.Ac
Doing something new can be daunting at first. When something is out of our routine or out of our comfort zone, it’s only natural that we may be worried about what to do, where to go and how to prepare. 
Making an appointment for acupuncture can be an extremely courageous step for some to make and we acknowledge that. Perhaps you are not great at prioritizing yourself, always too busy, or maybe your hesitation to book has come from a fear of needles.  No matter what has delayed you in the past, today is a new day! Well done YOU for scheduling an initial appointment and taking steps towards bettering your health – body, mind and spirit. 
Curious (or stressed?!) about what to expect? I’ve got you!
Expect your first appointment to be an in-depth getting acquainted session between you and your Acupuncturist. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, all of the organ systems are interrelated and so it is important for your Acupuncturist to understand not only your focus of the session or “chief complaint” but also how your body is functioning in each of the organ systems regarding sleep, digestion, stress, energy, skin, sense organs and hormonal cycles.
Your initial appointment will look like this:
  1. Review of your general health and medical history.
  2. Understanding your goal/s for the treatment.
  3. Diagnosis: Pulse reading, Tongue assessment, Palpation.
  4. Discussion of pattern differentiation, diagnosis and treatment plan. Explanation of recommended TCM modalities: acupuncture, tuina, cupping, gua sha or a combination of these.
  5. Opportunity for your questions and making sure you are comfortable to proceed. Informed and ongoing consent is an essential part of every acupuncture appointment.
  6. The best part: Treatment time! Min. 20 mins retention time for the acupuncture needles. Take this opportunity to fully present in your body, sink into the table and let the treatment deeply relax and restore you!
  7. Recommendations for follow up, diet, herbal prescription and guidance for next steps.
How to prepare for your appointment:
  • Avoid consuming caffeine for at least 3 hours before treatment
  • Eat a light meal or snack 1-2 hours prior to the appointment if possible. Try not to come in with an empty or full stomach.
  • Avoid brushing or scraping your tongue on the day of your appointment as the coating on your tongue is important to the assessment. Try not to drink or eat something that can colour your tongue.
  • Plan to arrive a few minutes early so that your heart and nervous system can calm down for an accurate assessment.
  • Bring the names & dosages of your medications, herbs and supplements as well as relevant diagnosis and test results if possible.
  • The treatment table will have clean sheets and towels for draping however you are welcome to wear or bring loose fitting clothes if you wish.
Still got questions or wondering if we would be a good fit to work together? Feel free to book a complimentary 15 min consultation with me. I look forward to meeting you!
To your health,