Acupuncture Learning Center

12 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Acupuncture Treatments

Take Advantage of the Full Potential of Working with an Acupuncturist
by Dr. Derek Kirkham

Acupuncture can be sometimes be a little intimidating to a newcomer. The thought of needles puncturing your skin is often fearsome for most people…

But acupuncture doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating.

You’ll find that the benefits outweigh the fear, and there is nothing to worry about.

In fact, it can be a relaxing and even releasing experience.

When getting ready for your first acupuncture appointment, sooth your concerns by writing down your questions and the information you’ve found about the acupuncturist and the treatment. Know that you can take notes both before and after your appointment to help enhance your acupuncture experience.

A good acupuncturist is here to educate you and really listen.

There are a few more things to consider when preparing for your first appointment. With these few tips and tricks, you will be well-prepared for your first session!

Before the Appointment

1. Do You Have Any Other Treatments?

After you have scheduled your first appointment, be sure to consider any other medical or health treatments you might be receiving or practicing at home.

Once you arrive at your acupuncturist’s office, describe your other treatments so the acupuncturist can evaluate how they align.

2. Wear the Proper Clothing

On the day of your appointment, it is important to wear the proper clothing.

Loose fitting clothes are great for acupuncture appointments because the practitioner can roll up the clothing items, or ask you to do so if that’s more comfortable for you, to ensure that the right points can be reached.

3. Don’t Arrive Hungry

You might be feeling a bit hungry during your session, that’s why it is recommended to enjoy a light snack or meal before you go to your appointment.

A snack can help keep your hunger down, but be careful of what you eat – you don’t want to upset your stomach during or after your appointment with heavy, greasy foods. Remember, acupuncture is a time to relax and heal.

4. Fill Out Forms Completely and Honestly

There might be forms to fill out beforehand or once you arrive at the office.

Make sure to fill them out completely and truthfully. The answers to the questions asked could be important to your treatment and make a difference in how the acupuncturist handles your specific treatment.

5. Take a Deep Breath

Take a deep breath before your appointment begins to get relaxed and let go of any frustrations or anxiety you brought in with you.

By being relaxed, you can help improve both your treatment and your recovery time.

During the Appointment

6. Just Relax

Once your appointment begins, the best advice is to relax.

By relaxing before the needles are set, you keep your muscles and nerves relaxed and receptive. This makes it easier on your acupuncturist.

If you are worried, simply ask your acupuncturist questions and try breathing slow and deep and focus on the breath. That should help to calm your nervousness and your nervous system.

7. Did You Say Relax?

After the needles have been set into the pressure points, this is the time for you to take a deep breath and relax again.

Take a moment to notice your breath. Are you breathing? Are you breathing slow and deep or high and rapid? Are you holding your breath and tensing up?

This is your time of healing. So take a deep breath and just keep focusing on slow and steady breathing which will help relax your mind and body.

Things to Avoid

There are several important things to avoid both before and after your acupuncture session. These things range from minor to serious, and all should be avoided if at all possible.

8. Avoid Heavy Greasy Foods and Caffeine

As mentioned in #3 above, it is recommended to have a light snack before your appointment, but you should avoid greasy or heavy meals.

The heavy grease or a great amount of food could upset your stomach during your session, which can result in an extremely uncomfortable acupuncture session for you and your acupuncturist. It is also recommended to avoid heavy, greasy meals or drinks at extreme temperatures before and after your appointment.

Avoid caffeine before and after your appointment as well, as it can alter your healing time.

9. Don’t Brush Your Tongue

It is also often recommended that you do not brush your tongue for 24 hours before your appointment. This might seem like a strange request, but the color, coating, and texture of your tongue can help with your acupuncturist’s diagnosis.

10. Avoid Stimulants and Depressants for at Least 12 Hours

Keep away from alcohol and drugs of any kind before your appointment.

At least 12 hours without ingesting either is the recommended time-slot. Stimulants and depressants can alter your healing and relaxation during your session. Avoid the use of alcohol and drugs after your session as well as your body is still translating the experience and healing.

After Your Treatment

Finally, here are some recommendations for after your appointment.

11. Relax Again

Acupuncturists recommend that you rest after your appointment to continue the healing process.

Drink plenty of water, and stay comfortable.

Don’t plan a big workout right after an acupuncture session. Some people feel relaxed and restful. Some people are energized. See how you respond to the treatments before jumping into something strenuous.

12. Notice the Effects and Give Your Practitioner Feedback

When your first appointment has ended, take specific notes about the things you liked and disliked about the treatment, what the effects were, and what you felt later on.

This can help your future appointments and give valuable feedback for your acupuncturist to adjust your treatment and gauge progress and effectiveness.

And with the help of your notes, your acupuncturist will be able to answer your concerns and questions if unexpected effects appear. Most acupuncturists are more than happy to share their knowledge and help address and ease your concerns.

Unlike experiences you may have had with doctors that are in and out of the room in a flash and barely listening to you, many acupuncturists prefer to take the time to really listen and adjust treatments to your unique needs.

A good acupuncturist welcomes it!

A Unique Experience

Acupuncture doesn’t have to be intimidating for first-time users. With amazing benefits, your appointment can be one you will never forget.

Acupuncture might not be for everyone, but for most, the needles and pressure points treatment helps drastically. If you might be interested in trying acupuncture, find and take time to chat with a specialist in your area, and set up your first appointment. This ancient treatment might be perfect for you.

When choosing an acupuncturist to try, check out our article on how to choose the right acupuncturist for you.

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