Preparing for an Acupuncture Appointment – How you can get the most out of it
You’ve booked your first acupuncture appointment and you’re thinking now what?
Well there is flexibility because what is good for one may not be for another.
That said there are a few things to bear in mind when you’re preparing for your treatment. It’s ok to adjust according to your own preferences and body’s constitution, though from experience, these tips will improve the experience and treatment outcome immensely.
Choose your timing
It’s a good idea to book your appointment away from other strenuous activities (like before or after gym work outs or stressful meetings).
It gives your acupuncturist a better view of your body’s baseline function and allows your body to process the treatment better afterwards.
If possible, avoid squeezing an appointment in between two other closely scheduled events to reduce any stress during your treatment
Have a coffee break
Well not literally, but this time coffee immediately before (or after) acupuncture is not your friend.
Although if you have a morning appointment and you just can’t go without your morning cup, let your acupuncturist know because it affects your pulse rate and stains your tongue which may change the Chinese medicine diagnosis.
If your appointment is later in the day coffee is best avoided two hours before.
Coffee stimulates the body’s nervous system, especially the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) whereas acupuncture enhances the parasympathetic nervous system function (rest, relax, digest) so the coffee counteracts that process.
By the way no tongue scraping/cleaning on your appointment day either if this is something you do.
Stressssss – stuck in traffic and an unexpected last minute request from a work colleague means you can’t get away on time.
You arrive at your acupuncture appointment out of breath, stressed out about being late and heart racing.
Stress works like coffee does, it activates the sympathetic nervous system and can, over time, has detrimental effects on your health.
Coming to acupuncture is a positive move for your health, so why rush. Consider putting your acupuncture appointment time in your calendar as 15 minutes earlier than it actually is. What’s the worst that could happen? You can relax in a quiet waiting room with space and time to breathe, think and be.
What to wear?
Comfortable, loose clothing is ideal. It makes it easier for the acupuncturist to access the acupuncture points.
For some acupuncture appointments, the points selected for you might mean that you don’t need to move clothing around too much, other than roll up your trousers and/or sleeves.
In other acupuncture appointments you may be asked to remove some clothing, say for example to have some treatment in your upper back.
Towels are provided for keeping warm and for respecting your privacy.
What’s your story?
Before your appointment have a think about (or make a list) of any major life events.
For instance: accidents, family history of diseases, chronic illnesses and surgeries.
Also note any medication – current or past long term.
For women – are you pregnant, possibly could be pregnant or trying to get pregnant?
These things are easily forgotten or we can think that they are not important but from an acupuncture point of view they will help create a holistic picture of your health.
Not sure about whether to mention something or not, it’s better mention it.
It’s important that we are well fed and watered before an acupuncture appointment.
Mainly because our food gives us our Qi (vital energy) – and that’s what we’re working with in acupuncture.
Acupuncture with no Qi on board can leave one feeling drained or lightheaded afterwards.
Are you on the go? Best to have a small snack to support your Qi during your acupuncture treatment.
Please turn your phone off (unless you’re on call for work or you’re a midwife or something you absolutely must have the phone on for).
Your acupuncture appointment is important YOU time. You want to enjoy it fully without distraction.