- Acupuncture

Do’s and Don’ts of Acupuncture Treatment

Success with acupuncture therapy is not a forgone conclusion. Below are the things that I advise my acupuncture patients to DO or to NOT DO in order to maximize the benefits of acupuncture treatment.

•Have a little something in your stomach during the treatment
•Let the acupuncturist know if you’ve had alcohol, tobacco or caffeine (as these substances change your diagnostic signs)
•Wear loose-fitting clothing whenever possible
•Arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment and avoid rushing
•Urinate before your appointment and before you get into the treatment room
•Be prepared to fill out paperwork
•Be prepared to be in the clinic for at least 1 hour, with you on the table for a minimum of 30 minutes of needle retention time
•Try to relax as much as possible during the treatment
•Turn off your cell phone during the treatment
•Quit smoking cigarettes as they are working against your ability to heal
•Call with 24-hours notice of cancellation or schedule change
•Think of realistic goals to set for the course of acupuncture (I would consider 50% improvement in pain/symptom level and/or 50% improvement in function level to be “realistic” for a course of 6-10 treatments)
•Pay close attention to:
-If and/or how your pain/symptom has changed (decreased or increased)
-How long your pain/symptom changed
-Whether the pain has moved, changed in quality or frequency
-Whether you got no change, slight, medium, good or great relief or increased pain

•Expect to multitask during your treatment
•Move body parts with needles in them
•Come in with an empty stomach or immediately after a large meal
•Over-exert yourself (physically, mentally or emotionally) after the treatment
•Consume alcohol (or other toxic substances) on the day of your treatment
•Make movements, take actions or engage in activities that will exacerbate your pain during the entire course of treatment
•Swim or bathe for 1 hour following the acupuncture treatment

Many of these suggestions are designed to preserve your safety during and after an acupuncture treatment. An example would be swimming or bathing after acupuncture. Why not take a dip in a public pool within one hour of your treatment? We just put a bunch of microscopic holes in your skin! We are trying to prevent an infection from occurring.

Some suggestions allow the practitioner to come to an accurate diagnosis. If you drink a cup of coffee just before an acupuncture treatment, it will likely stain your tongue and tongue coat a different color than it would be otherwise. This could potentially throw off the acupuncturist’s diagnosis. It most certainly will increase your heart rate. Because we rely on tongue and pulse diagnosis techniques it should be clear why we would want you to avoid it just before your treatment. Additionally, caffeine increases cortisol firing and could increase the pain you feel from needle insertion.