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What To Expect From Acupuncture Treatment

Consumers Guide to Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Being informed and understanding what to expect from acupuncture treatment from the beginning will make you feel more comfortable about the experience.

Determine Your Goals

Are you looking for a primary health care practitioner or someone who will work with your current physician? Are you seeking short-term treatment for a specific complaint or do you want a prevention-oriented, holistic approach to the health of mind, body and spirit that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can provide? Do you have a work-related injury that is covered by Workers' Compensation?

Select a Practitioner

Ask friends, relatives, your doctor or your health plan for a referral to a reputable practitioner. You can access a list of professional associations or verify a license through the California Acupuncture Board's Web site: California Acupuncture Board

Once you have some names, call the practitioners' offices and ask questions. Find out about their training, length of practice, which aspects of acupuncture and Oriental medicine they employ, any specializations and their experience in treating your ailment. You may also want to ask about the cost of treatment.


An acupuncturist's diagnosis is determined in part using methods similar to other health care practitioners: asking patients for a thorough history of their health, diet, exercise patterns and chief complaints; performing a physical exam, ordering laboratory tests, X-rays or MRIs; and making a referral to a specialist, as necessary. However, the acupuncturist also uses unique diagnostic techniques, such as taking the patient's pulse on both wrists and observing the tongue, complexion and other signs. The three pulses felt on each wrist are thought to correspond to certain organs and functions. The practitioner should explain the nature of your problem, the recommended treatment plan and an anticipated prognosis (outcome).



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