So you’ve finally taken the plunge and scheduled an acupuncture appointment? Congratulations! It might be scary if you don’t know what to expect, but I’m sure you’re also hopeful and excited for this new adventure.
Just making that appointment is a big step; it takes time to come in for a treatment, and there’s the financial obligation as well. So I already know you’re serious about improving your health. And believe it or not, there are certain things that you can do - before, during, and after your treatment - that will help you get the most from your time and money. The more of these things you do, the faster you will start feeling better.
1. Eat a Little Beforehand (but not too much)
Acupuncture directly affects your nervous system by switching you out of the “fight or flight” sympathetic response, and into the “rest and digest” parasympathetic system. This is the place where your body is best able to heal itself. It can also make you a little lightheaded, or what we call the “Acu Haze”. If your blood sugar is very low it will amplify the haze, and you might feel a little woozy for a while. On the flip side, if you’ve just eaten a big meal and you’re stuffed to the brim, you might feel uncomfortable lying on the table. Having a snack or small meal an hour or 2 before your treatment is the best way to avoid both these scenarios.
2. Get Comfortable
As I mentioned above, being relaxed in that “rest and digest” response is the optimal healing place for your body. Which is why it’s so important for you to be as comfortable as possible during your treatment. So feel free to ask for anything that could make you more comfortable, such as pillows, a temperature adjustment, changing to a different position, etc. Also, make sure to get all your questions and concerns addressed before you get on the table. This way you’ll be able to relax, let go, and soak in the full benefits.
3. Take Care of Yourself After
Be sure to take it easy after your treatment. Drink plenty of water to support detoxification, and eat a healthy, nourishing dinner. If possible, go to bed a little early and get a good night sleep. You may feel the need to rest after your treatment; go ahead and allow for that. However, some people have tons of energy after getting acupuncture. If that’s you – don’t overdo it. Especially if you’re getting treated for pain, don’t exercise or do lots of strenuous activity for the rest of the day, and the day after your treatment. Allow the injury time to recover. And most important of all – don’t keep checking your pain spot over and over again to see if it’s better – you’ll just undo all the good work that we put in.
4. Follow Our Suggestions
I know that everyone is busy, and I try not to give patients too much homework. However, I may have a suggestion or two for you that will help you get better even faster. Suggestions may include a stretching or strengthening exercise for pain management, dietary tweaks or herbs for internal conditions, or stress management if stress is contributing to your condition.
We may ask you to try things that seem a little strange, but you’ll never know if it’ll work until you try. So just experiment for a little while, and I bet you’ll be happily surprised.
5. Lifestyle Makes a Difference
It’s true, acupuncture works all by itself. However, my patients with good lifestyle habits find that they respond very quickly to their treatments. These habits include eating healthy whole foods, getting enough sleep, practicing stress management techniques, and regularly working movement activities into their life. These 4 pillars form the foundation of good health, and if you put in the work of setting up this foundation, I guarantee you will start to feel better quick!
Elizabeth Allen is an acupuncturist in Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in pain management, women’s health, and psycho-emotional issues. She’s passionate about helping people feel their best and sharing her wealth of knowledge with the community. Elizabeth is the owner of AcuMed Spa, on Wade Hampton Boulevard. Appointments can be made by calling 864-451-4313, or scheduled online here.