To make the most of acupuncture and reap the benefits of treatment it is best if you keep the following 7 points in mind:
Make sure you have something to eat beforehand.
Acupuncture works by directing the body’s energies (known as Qi) in specific ways. Qi is produced from the food you eat so if you haven’t been eating well, or skipping meals, you will have less Qi or energy to begin with. Having food in your stomach means that there’s more Qi or energy to use which helps the acupuncture treatment to be more effective.
Avoid any stimulants such as caffeine or alcohol.
Having caffeine or alcohol beforehand means that your body has been stimulated when it should be relaxing and enabling the Qi to flow. Acupuncture works by increasing the production of a neurotransmitter in the brain called Adenosine. This neurotransmitter helps you to relax, feel calm and rested during acupuncture treatment which is when the healing takes place. Caffeine blocks the production of this neurotransmitter so that’s why it’s not a good idea to have that skinny latte beforehand.
Arrive on time for treatment.
There’s nothing worse than arriving for a treatment late and stressed. Arriving for treatment on time means you get the most out of the acupuncture session, the needles have time to ‘do their work’ and your body has had the chance to relax and release the chemicals needed to improve your health and wellbeing. Do yourself a favour and leave yourself enough time to arrive!
Turn off your mobile phone.
Imagine that you are lying on the treatment table or sitting comfortably in a chair, letting the acupuncture needles do their work, feeling all relaxed and calm almost in a dream like state and your phone goes off! Yes, the day to day demands of life will still be there after treatment but whilst you are in treatment show yourself some consideration and care and turn the phone off. This is your time to focus on yourself without pressure or demands and when was the last time you actually got a chance to do that?
Plan your day so you don’t carry out strenuous activity after treatment.
This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything physical after acupuncture, but it does mean that it is better to do something less strenuous if possible, because during acupuncture treatment you have had your body’s energies directed to specific parts of your body to heal and rebalance. Strenuous activity almost distracts the energies that have been directed elsewhere and so they will not be as effective.
Follow any lifestyle advice given to you by your acupuncturist.
In everyday language I call this ‘lifestyle advice’ but in Chinese Medicine we call this ‘the three free therapies’. What this means is that your acupuncturist will also give you the support and knowledge to make changes in your life. The three therapies are nutrition, exercise and relaxation. Your acupuncturist makes these recommendations from an understanding of the importance of nourishing food, appropriate exercise and personalised relaxation methods, so take their advice, it’s the free bit!
Consider strategic scheduling of acupuncture treatment.
This is simply thinking of acupuncture treatment as a process rather than as individual treatments. As an acupuncturist I always talk about strategic scheduling or a course of sessions over a period of time. Whenever I see someone new I use acupuncture more often, over a shorter period of time, so it can trigger the changes needed in the body to rebalance and heal. As acupuncture continues and the compound effect impacts on the body, I increase the time between treatments and reduce the number of sessions, so as to wean the body off as it improves.
This article was written by Ali Balquees.