What To Expect At Your First Acupuncture Session


To schedule your session in San Rafael or Cotati please book online or call/text (415) 233-0165.

If possible, print the form at the bottom of this page & fill it out, to bring to your first appointment. If you do not get a chance to do this before your session, not to worry; we have extras at the office.  Just show up a few minutes early for your appointment to fill out paperwork.

Our session will begin with an initial consultation about what brings you in for treatment. Remember, it is fine to feel nervous about receiving acupuncture for the first time; please share any concerns and I will do all I can to make you comfortable. The first visit usually involves a more extensive health history than subsequent visits when I will know you better.

A preliminary diagnosis of your Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) health pattern will be based on history, symptoms, and tongue and pulse readings. I will press the tips of my fingers against your radial pulses at the wrist and observe the rhythm and strength of your pulses on several levels of depth. I will observe your tongue for color, size, coating, teeth marks, cracks.

You lie down on the massage table during the pattern diagnosis, after which I administer Acupuncture (unless you prefer to have only acupressure without needles, the first time) and some massage. The needles are usually retained 20 minutes while, with dim lighting and a heat lamp keeping you cozy, you rest.

Each session lasts about one hour from start to finish. Once needles are removed, you arise and we briefly discuss when I recommend your next appointment take place. I generally wait to prescribe herbs until the second treatment, seeing how you respond to Acupuncture alone. Herbal medicine is extremely effective; in TCM hospitals in China the herbs are in certain cases considered superior to acupuncture treatment. Thus in subsequent visits you likely receive granulated formula (just add hot water to make tea) specifically suited to your acupuncture pattern.

Here is a form you can download and print: RegistrationIntakeForm

I am confident acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and medical massage will benefit your health, as I have benefited immensely myself. I look forward to working with you.

-Dr. Gigi Shames

Dr. Gigi Shames is a Doctor of Natural Health. Ms. Shames is also a Licensed Acupuncturist. Serving San Francisco, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Novato, Petaluma, Berkeley, Oakland, San Anselmo, Mill Valley, Greenbrae, Larkspur, Sausalito, And Many Other Cities Of The Marin/Sonoma Bay Area!