5 Things No One Told Me About Getting Acupuncture for the First Time

Like many millennial women before me, my first exposure to acupuncture was on the TV show Sex and the City. In season six, a fertility challenged Charlotte visits one supposedly miracle-working holistic doctor in hopes that by sticking her with needles, he will be able to help her conceive. (It doesn't work out.) Hardly the only piece of misinformation I derived from Sex and the City, my takeaway from the episode was that acupuncture was quirky at best, quackery at worst, and as a teen and then a 20-something who was definitely not trying to get pregnant, it had nothing to offer me.

Then, I moved away from the cynicism of the East Coast and the problematic attitudes toward nontraditional medicine of the early 2000s, eventually settling as a beauty editor in Los Angeles. Yet somehow, even after over four years in the capital of alternative wellness, I had still never given acupuncture a try. By then, I'd learned that the ancient Chinese practice involves strategically placing needles along the meridians, or energy channels, of your body to help with any number of physical concerns—definitely not just fertility. Every other L.A. Byrdie editor swears by it; so even though I was still unsure how exactly the practice might help me, I decided that, if for no other reason than an openness to try anything once, I should give it a go.

I scheduled my first acupuncture appointment with licensed acupuncturist Robert Youngs at Robert Youngs Acupuncture, a wellness center in Beverly Hills that I chose mostly for its five-star Yelp rating and the fact that Youngs has 15 years of experience but also because I saw online that Youngs has a really cute Australian Shepherd who comes to the office with him (priorities, people). Youngs's goal both with his acupuncture practice and line of herbal supplements is, as he explained to Voyage LA last year, to teach the long-term benefits of holistic medicine to "an audience raised on pharmaceuticals with instant results from one tiny little pill."

Last week, without knowing quite what to expect, I had my first acupuncture appointment, and it was truly enlightening. For anyone else curious, keep reading for five things no one told me before my first experience.