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Acupuncture treatment: tips to set yourself up for success

While acupuncture treatment can be intimidating at first, especially for those who may have a fear of needles, the benefits are well worth it! Acupuncture has been in use for thousands of years and is effective as a standalone therapy as well as in combination with other therapies. Acupuncture can treat a wide variety of conditions from all types of pain to insomnia, hormonal imbalances, anxiety and mental health and lots more!

Tips to get the most out of your acupuncture treatment

This tips will help you understand a little bit about our process, so that you know what to expect and can get the most out of your acupuncture treatment.

1. Timing of The Session

Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment time. This offers you the opportunity to settle in and arrive. It provides space to use the bathroom or have a drink of water before the treatment. It also allows for some of the unpredictable events that may occur. A buffer time means you can arrive without stress. Also, please plan to be unavailable by electronic device for the duration of your acupuncture treatment. This is your time to heal!

2. Wear Proper Clothing

On the day of your appointment, it is important to wear the proper clothing. Many patients bring shorts and/or tank tops to change into once they arrive. Many acupuncture points are on the legs below the knees and the arms below the elbows. This means skinny jeans and tight, long-sleeved shirts will likely interfere with the treatment. 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. In some cases, we may need to treat an area being covered by clothing, such as your lower back, upper back, or shoulders. In this case, your acupuncturist will communicate clearly what area they need access to. When clothing is adjusted or removed, your acupuncturist will always make sure you are properly and modestly draped, so that you are comfortable and warm throughout the treatment.

3. Don’t Arrive Hungry

To optimize healing, eat just enough that you’re not hungry, but not so much that you’re stuffed. Patients who come to treatment on an empty stomach may feel lightheaded or dizzy after the treatment. It’s also best to avoid caffeine right before your appointment.

4. Don’t Brush Your Tongue Before the Treatment

Acupuncture, as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses some diagnostic techniques that are not commonplace in Western Medicine. This includes looking at the tongue to help make a diagnosis. Its shape, quality, color, and coating are all taken into account. For this reason, it is best not to eat colorful candy or brush your tongue before your treatment. Pulse diagnosis is also a commonplace in TCM. Feeling your pulse on each wrist gives your acupuncturist an idea of the state of your energy and can provide them with important diagnostic information. At the time of treatment, you may be asked to remove watches or jewelry that puts any pressure on your wrists.

5. Don’t Worry About Needles!

Acupuncture needles are flexible, thin, and compared to the size of human hair. About 30 acupuncture needles can fit into the opening of a hypodermic needle, the common doctor’s office shot! While some patients occasionally feel a slight pinch at insertion, or a temporary heavy sensation after a point has been stimulated, acupuncture is not a painful experience. The needles I use are sterile, hypoallergenic, and never reused.

6. Get Ready to Relax

While acupuncture is more like a medical office visit rather than a spa appointment, it is very relaxing. After the needles have been inserted in the acupuncture points, you will relax on the table for your treatment time. This is a great time to clear your mind, meditate, or take a nap. Most people go into a deep state of relaxation; this is a state where profound healing occurs. This is your time of healing!

7. Take It Easy After Treatment

Be gentle with yourself after your appointment and take it easy! Acupuncture activates a healing process that continues after you leave the office. This doesn’t mean you need to stay in bed for the rest of the day – going on a walk or other light activity is encouraged – but just be aware of your energy levels and try not to overdo it. While it’s not strictly forbidden, if you want to get the most out of your sessions, plan to go to the gym or do any strenuous activity before rather than after your treatment session.

8. Stay Hydrated

Being hydrated is vital to the body’s natural healing process and optimizes the effects of your acupuncture treatment. Have a cup of water in our office before you leave or bring your reusable water bottle with you. Warm water with lemon & a pinch of sea salt is a great way to hydrate and restore electrolyte balance.

9. Give Your Acupuncturist Feedback

After your session, pay attention to how you feel. Your acupuncturist will ask for your feedback at the start of your next treatment! Some patients like to make a journal or take notes to help them remember how they felt between treatments. This information will help your practitioner continue to tailor your treatment to fit your needs.

10. Maximizing Results

Acupuncture works cumulatively in a series of treatments, so I encourage you to experience what it has to offer by committing to your treatment plan. Each treatment builds on the last and if your symptoms are returning before your next visit, book in as soon as possible. Acupuncture should not be looked at as a quick fix or band aid, but as a way to maintain health and prevent illness.

11. Frequency and Number of Visits

True healing takes time and commitment. The number of treatments needed usually corresponds with the severity of the problem and how long you have had the condition. In cases of acute minor injuries, a patient may only need a few treatments. Conditions that are severe or have been around for a long time usually require more frequent treatment at the beginning, with the goal of spacing the treatments out as much as possible if continuing treatment is required. Once improvements have stabilized, monthly visits are usually recommended to maintain the progress.

You are the most important person on your health care team and your actions are a key component of your treatment plan. Focusing on your health and committing to a healthy lifestyle are the best steps you can take for your well-being. As your acupuncturist and homeopath I will work my hardest to make sure your health and balance is restored!

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