The doctor will begin by talking with you about your chief complaint and asking questions about the general function of your body. He will ask you to lie down on a massage table and will perform pulse, tongue and abdominal diagnoses. He will combine this information, taking into consideration any other visual or olfactory cues, and will develop a specific treatment plan. Treatment takes place with the client wearing loosely fitting clothes. However, the client may be asked to dorn a gown if some of the clothing is restricting access to specific points.
Most people who have never had acupuncture are surprised at how small the needles are. All needles are made of stainless steel and are NOT hollow. They vary in length and thickness. All needles are pre-packaged and sterilized. Needles are never reused. For children or those uncomfortable with needles, a blunt probe is used to stimulate the points without breaking the skin.
In general, this depends upon the particular style of acupuncture that the TCM doctor is practising. In the Chinese style of acupuncture, the needles are inserted deeper (1-6 cm) into the flesh. In the Japanese style, the needles are only inserted a few millimetres into the superficial skin and sometimes the needle is NOT inserted at all, and rests on top of the skin. Of course, the TCM doctor will consult with the patient to ensure that he/she is comfortable with the style used.
Needles are inserted all over the body. Many of the major points are below the elbows and knees. In Korean Hand Technique, all the points are located on the front and back of the hand. In ear acupuncture, naturally all points are located on the ears. Many different systems may be combined.