Many people ask before their acupuncture session, What do I need to know before I come in for a treatment?
Arnold Schwarzenegger used to get acupuncture to speed up his recovery in the 1970s. It’s shown in the epic documentary Pumping Iron. Acupuncture has long been used for its pain relieving qualities, among its many other positive effects. As a practitioner myself, I know it’s effectiveness, but often share in my patient’s frustration when they feel amazing leaving my office only to have their symptoms return the next day.
There are definite ways to “undo” the benefits of any holistic treatment and, conversely, there are also ways to help the desired effects of the treatment last and last.
Before Treatment: Eat
While it might seem obvious to eat at some point before your treatment, it’s apparently not. Alexandra explained:
Before treatments I highly recommend to my patients that they eat, and eat something they know they will tolerate. Often times I’ll have patients show up for a 1:00pm appointment and they’ll walk in and tell me that they haven’t eaten since 7:00am that morning!
In order for their body to hold the treatment, all of their energy should be available for healing. Walking into a treatment with any empty gas tank is similar to walking into a workout in the same way. It’s not going to lead to anything positive. Please, eat an apple, some other fruit, or something nutritious about thirty minutes before seeing me.
After Treatment: Be Patient
People with competitive mindsets aren’t always the best at being patient. Certainly any athlete reading this article and doing research on performance has probably struggled with the idea of doing “nothing.” Alexandra explained that being patient is essential when it comes to acupuncture treatment:
After treatments, I tell my patients to first, “Be Patient.” Often times when I’ve poked around an injury, it feels worse than it did beforehand. This is only temporary and will subside in twenty-four hours. Have patience, but also, treat yourself with kid gloves for a day or two.
Running from my office right into a workout or right back into a high stress environment will not facilitate your body staying in a state of health. If we’ve worked hard for the hour to minimize inflammation in your shoulder, surfing for three hours right afterwards is not my strongest advice. Take the afternoon, eat well, realize that your system just got recalibrated and work with your body to hold onto the treatment.
There you have it folks, two simple steps that you can take before and after your visit with your acupuncturist to ensure the treatment holds and you receive as much benefit as possible.
Much like physical training, you get to see your acupuncturist once or twice a week for an hour, but have the entire rest of the week to your own devices. Implement the action steps listed above and watch the time needed for recovery lessen and lessen. Listen to your acupuncturist like you listen to your coach.