How should you prepare for your appointment?

A few things to remember before your acupuncture appointment

In order to get the most out of your acupuncture treatment, here are a few things to remember.

1. Schedule your appointment on down time.

Whenever possible avoid scheduling acupuncture just before or after anything strenuous.  It’s not necessary to be sedentary but the purpose of the treatment is to heal and a body does that best with low stress.  Also avoid scheduling between two other events, this will help avoid the stress of running late and increase the effectiveness of the treatment.  In order to have maximum effectiveness it’s good to avoid feeling rushed.

2. Eat something before your appointment.

Everyone metabolizes food at different rates, so personal adjustments are necessary, but having something to eat two hours prior to your appointment is important.  Of course you don’t want to arrive at the appointment really full either, but having something in your system will help avoid lightheadedness.  It’s always good to avoid heavy or fried foods but do not come to your appointment on an empty stomach.

3. Avoid caffeine.

Caffeine is a simulant that can be found in coffee, tea, sodas and many other drinks.  Caffeine is shown to release brain chemicals that put your body into a sympathetic (fight or flight) state.  Your acupuncture treatment works to shift you away from the sympathetic state toward a parasympathetic (rest and digest) one and caffeine inhibits the process.  Additionally the acupuncturist uses pulses as a guide to treatment, since caffeine increases your heart rate it may cause an inaccurate reading.

4. Avoid alcohol.

Alcohol dulls the senses and can cloud how you truly feel.  Acupuncture is all about putting you in touch with your body.  Anything that inhibits this should be avoided at anytime but specifically before your appointment.

5. Mentally review your health history.

Before your appointment spend some time thinking about any medical event in your life.  Your family disease history, car accidents, childhood traumas, surgeries, and even insect bites will help the acupuncturist get a complete picture of your health.  It can also be helpful to make a list of any medications you currently take or have taken in the past.

There is a tendency to think these things are irrelevant because western medicine puts minimal emphasis on them.  Eastern medicine views health throughout your medical history.  Your acupuncturist will use this information to make a more accurate and customized treatment plan.

6. Whenever possible wear loose clothing.

Along with being more comfortable this will allow the acupuncturist to easily access the points for needles. It’s especially important if you’re going for a community acupuncture appointment, because treatments are performed in a group setting with clothes on.

7. Unplug

Avoiding stress and allowing healing is purpose of your treatment.  A ringing, or worse, vibrating cellphone is not going to help lower your stress levels.  Take this appointment time as important to the rest of your life.  If you’re at maximum health everything will be easier to manage.  Turning off your phone for an hour and allowing your mind to clear and your body to heal can be an important step to longevity and good health.

You should also read about what to expect after your appointment.

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