1. To get the most from acupuncture treatments, make a list of all your symptoms and major life events before you go into your appointment.
This way your practitioner can get a full picture, and you won’t have to lose a lot of potential treatment time trying to remember everything that’s going on.
While you might not directly address every item on your list in one treatment, everything that’s going on with you influences everything else. The more information you can give your practitioner upfront, the better they can tailor the treatment to your needs.
2. Bring a list of all the medications and supplements you are currently taking.
This is especially important if you are getting herbs as part of your treatment, as there are some herb-drug interactions that can be rather dangerous (this is especially true if you are taking MAOI’s or blood thinning medications such as Warfarin).
Also, some medications might actually be causing the symptoms you’re experiencing. Bringing up any concerns you might have with your acupuncturist can be a great way to educate yourself and start a conversation with your primary health care provider.
3. Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Tight pants and itchy sweaters won’t just be a distraction during the treatment, they can actually block the flow the needles are trying to induce. Loose clothing will also make it easier to reach some otherwise tricky acupuncture points.
4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugar -before and after treatment.
If you are a coffee addict, feel free to enjoy your morning cup-o-joe, but hold back on any more as your appointment draws near. The less influencing factors you have in your system when the needles go in, the better.
5. Turn off technology.
Your treatment time is one of the only moments when you get to shut the world out and focus on yourself. So whenever possible, turn off your phone and other tech-y devices while you’re on the table or in the chair. They’ll still be there when you’re done.
6. Unless it’s 95 degrees out, don’t go swimming in cold water, avoid drafts, wear a scarf, and eat warm food.
Wind can make you vulnerable to external invasions, and cold can bring about stagnation and pain. To get the most from acupuncture treatments, protect yourself from the elements, inside and out.
7. What you eat before and after treatment can affect how well the treatment works.
Make sure you’re not hungry going into treatment, but don’t gorge yourself on a heavy meal either. Same applies to post-treatment protocol. As much as possible, eat light food like vegetables and rice and avoid overly processed and heavy foods.
8. Don’t make big plans for right after your treatment.
In fact, if at all possible, spend the next 12 hours relaxing.
Even if you are feeling great after your treatment and want to exercise, don’t go overboard. Your body needs some time to integrate the shifts that happened in the treatment.
If you absolutely must move, try going for a gentle stroll or take a yin yoga class. Save the cross-fit, hot yoga, and 5 hour hike for another day.
9. Ask your practitioner for lifestyle tips… and follow them!
No matter what’s going on with you, there are many steps you can take at home to enhance the healing effects of your treatment. Most acupuncturists are more than happy to show you some techniques specific for your situation, so don’t be shy!
10. Get regular treatments. Ask your acupuncturist how often you should come in for best results. Some issues respond most noticeably to weekly treatments. Other times you might just go in once every month or 6 weeks for “tune-up” sessions. In acute situations you might even go in every other day.
Regardless of frequency, regularity is key to achieving optimal health and lasting effects with acupuncture.