Use It Wisely
Acupuncture and CM work best as a preventative measure. Make regular acupuncture appointments, meaning once a season if you lead a relatively low-stress life and once a month if you’re living a busy life in the city with lots of responsibilities.
If you have a problem-area, look for early warning signs that it’s acting up and book an appointment as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’re in a full-blown episode of whatever it is. For example, if you know that your neck gets really tight before it finally “goes out,” get an appointment at the first sign of tension, rather than waiting for emergency pain to book. The acupuncture will work far more quickly (requiring less money and time) if you get in early! If you keep up with regular appointments, it’s less likely that you’ll ever get to an emergency point.
Make sure that you eat a healthy meal and leave 1-2 hours after that meal before coming in for your acupuncture treatment. If you don’t have enough nutrients in your system at the time of your acupuncture treatment, you can become light-headed, clammy or otherwise, not reap the full benefits of the treatment.
Avoid eating a heavy meal right before you walk in the door. If all of your blood is being utilized by your stomach and liver for the digestive process, we won’t have much to work with in other areas of your body.
Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine, Sugar and Processed Foods
These substances take a great toll on your body and particularly, on your liver and emotional state. This can make your response to acupuncture less than optimal.
In addition, alcohol and caffeine disrupt your pulse and this can make it difficult for your acupuncturist to get the best diagnosis for you. Your treatment can only be as accurate as the information that your practitioner is able to gather. You give yourself the best chance for an excellent treatment when you come in without these substances in your system.
Come 5-10 minutes early for your appointment and grab a cup of tea, disconnect from your screen and relax in our waiting area. Settling yourself and starting to turn inward before you come into the treatment room helps prepare your mind for acupuncture. Your acupuncturist will come and get you from the treatment room at the start time for your appointment.
Starting this way lets us make the most of your treatment time, because you are clear and collected and ready to start treatment as soon as you get into the room.
Take care of payment, scheduling questions and any insurance information at the beginning of your appointment. It can be awkward to end a beautiful and relaxing acupuncture treatment with five minutes of check writing and calendar navigation. Get the most out of your treatment by taking care of the logistics with your provider at the beginning of the session so that you can hold on to your acu-bliss for as long as possible.
Bring A Clear Intention
Spend some time before your treatment to get focused on the specific thing you want to work on. If you’ve got a long list, prioritize your top two complaints. If you can get really clear and simplify what your treatment goals are, this will help your acupuncturist to make sure that the whole treatment time is spent moving towards these goals.
If you're coming for a general wellness treatment or "tune-up," having an intention for the hour can be just as important!
Bring Your Cycle Clues
If you’re a woman, your menstrual cycle is one of the most important vital signs we have for ascertaining your health. You also have different amounts of energy in different places in your body during the various stages of your cycle. Your acupuncturist can use this information to make sure that you get the most effective treatment possible. This is also important information to track so that we know how the treatment is affecting your body over time.
The first day of bleeding is Day 1 of your cycle. Your acupuncturist will want to know which day of your cycle you are on as well as the length of bleeding during your last menses, the quality of the blood and whether you had any PMS symptoms. It’s also important that we know how long your cycles last (from Day 1 to the next Day 1). A lot of women find that it’s incredibly easy to track all of these things by using a phone app. We have had great results with the period tracker called Clue.
A big part of your acupuncturists job is to educate you about what we’re doing. However, we’ve been doing this for so long we can sometimes assume that everybody knows what we’re talking about. Make sure to ask if we say or do something and you’re not sure why. Challenge our Chinese medicine jargon. If you are confused about “Qi,” or “Spleen yang,” or any of the myriad of terms we might use in the office, ask us to clarify what we mean.
Be Gentle With Yourself
After your treatment, take it easy. It’s best to avoid the substances listed above (alcohol, caffeine, etc,) heavy exercise, stressful intellectual work and sex for the rest of the day after you’ve had acupuncture. Acupuncture gives your body an informational stimulus that starts you towards the work of rebalancing something in your system. This takes a lot of your energy, blood and other resources. If you decide to send the majority of those resources to your liver (by drinking), to your muscles (with heavy exercise,) to your brain (with stressful intellectual work) or to your reproductive organs (with sex), your body will not have as much power to put towards that rebalancing.
If you’re working on a musculoskeletal problem, poking or testing the injury right after acupuncture may make it feel worse than it did beforehand. This is temporary and will subside after a day or so. Treat yourself extra gently around the area you’re trying to rebalance. When we’ve worked hard to reduce the inflammation in an area, the best thing is to let it rest while your body uses the increased circulation in the area to heal itself.
Give It Time
It’s true that sometimes acupuncture results in a ‘miracle’ after one treatment, but that doesn’t happen in most cases. When it does, it usually happens with problems that are fairly recent. The longer you’ve been dealing with a health imbalance, the more likely it is to take multiple treatments to reach your goals. If you’re seeking treatment for a situation for the first time, it’s not uncommon to need 5 to 12 treatments for significant results. Staying focused on the reason for your visits and working with your practitioner to change the lifestyle and dietary habits that might be contributing to them is going to give you your best results.