Things you can do before and after acupuncture
Acupuncture is a fairly new modality and many people aren’t sure how to prepare for a treatment or what they should do afterward. While acupuncture is a medical procedure, it’s also used as a “wellness” technique, most often for prevention or stress reduction. You don’t have to be worried about sabotaging your acupuncture treatment by carrying on with your every day life. Still, there are some guidelines to help you make the most of the magic needles.
Before Acupuncture Treatment
First of all, don’t come hungry. Have a snack or light meal before your treatment. This is especially true if you are hypoglycemic or tend to have blood sugar swings. It goes without saying that it’s best to avoid alcohol or recreational drugs before treatment. However, you should take your prescription medicines on schedule. Acupuncturists regularly treat patients who are on medications for all sorts of conditions.
Acupuncture is a relaxing experience. Wear clothing that is comfortable and that will give the acupuncturist easy access to your elbows and knees. Avoid tights and pantyhose. Dress in layers if it’s cold. Use your common sense. If you think your acupuncturist will need to work on your neck or upper back for instance, wear a tank top underneath your turtleneck.
Tell your acupuncturist if your are sleep deprived or exceptionally stressed or overworked. This helps us decide what treatment is best for you. If you are particularly stressed out, you might need a few calming needles before your treatment. Or perhaps if you are exhausted you will need a less vigorous acupuncture technique. It’s wise to let your acupuncturist know about any unusual emotional upsets or periods of overwork. These things are taken into account in treatment planning.
After Acupuncture Treatment
After acupuncture, you may resume your normal activities. Going back to work is fine. Know that you may feel a little more relaxed than usual. If you are tired and have the opportunity to nap, do so. Try not to eat a heavy meal after treatment, and avoid alcohol. If you must have an alcoholic beverage, drink with your meal and don’t have too much.
There should be no problem with exercise, but keep it easy. Avoid strenuous or rigorous routines, depending on what you are used to. Walk or jog instead of running, or do three miles instead of ten. Walk a mile along a pretty pathway or saunter around the block. Have a leisurely swim instead of trying to break your record at laps. If you work out in a gym, do a lighter routine.
Do not use ice after acupuncture. Acupuncture gets the circulation flowing, your qi and blood moving. If you have swelling, acupuncture reduces it. When you apply ice it impedes this process. Cold contracts things and slows them down. If you need to ice an area, wait a few hours after acupuncture before applying it. This is how long it takes the qi or energy to settle into it’s new, healthier way of being.
You can get physical therapy, chiropractic or massage the same day you get acupuncture. In fact, in our clinic we encourage people to combine massage with acupuncture and we sometimes run an “acu-massage combo special”. (Sign up for our newsletter to hear about specials.) People who come for muscular pain and trigger points will especially benefit from acupuncture followed by a massage. Combining acupuncture with massage is also effective for other problems, including minor injuries, arthritis pain, headaches, and stress.