If you’ve committed to having a course of acupuncture treatments, you will want to make sure you get the most out of it. Here are a few things you can do to get the best results.
1. Stick with it
Acupuncture doesn’t always start working instantly. Every once in a while someone will get incredible results after just one treatment, but it usually takes a course of treatment for things to change, especially if you’ve had a problem for a while.
Sometimes improvements are gradual and steady, while other times things seem not to be improving and then suddenly there’s a big shift. And sometimes it seems like you take a step backwards before improving again.
Acupuncture treatments, like any other kind of treatment, are dose-dependent. You wouldn’t take one or two antibiotics and expect to get better, so you shouldn’t expect to be able to do that with acupuncture either.
During your initial session, you should have been given some indication of how many treatments you might need, and how frequently you should come. The more closely you stick to this plan, the better your chances of successful treatment.
2. Do the exercises
If you’ve been given any exercises, dietary or other lifestyle advice to follow, try your best to do it. There are two reasons we give people advice:
- You will get better quicker if you make changes that support your treatment. It’s like having a treatment every day.
- You may be doing something that is causing or contributing to your problem. If you don’t don’t change it, treatment will be slower and when you stop your problem will probably return.
We don’t want you to keep coming for treatment forever (unless you love it and really want to!) So save yourself some time and money by following your self-care plan.
3. Give feedback during the active phase of treatment
Often acupuncture treatments involve periods of time when the needles are inserted and ‘twiddled’ (the active phase), and then periods of time when the needles are retained and you can relax (the passive phase).
During acupuncture, you should expect to feel certain sensations (dull aches, tingles, warm sensations, moving sensations and so on). These are not usually uncomfortable, but they are useful indicators of what the needles are doing. Sometimes we may try to elicit particular sensations, so the more feedback you can give about what you’re feeling, the better.
4. Relax during the passive phase of treatment
Once the needles are left to do their work, you don’t need to keep giving updates. Get comfortable, breathe deeply and pay attention to any sensations you feel. If you fall asleep, that’s perfectly okay, sometimes this is what your body needs most.
Given how busy and stressful modern life is, simply lying down for 30 minutes in the middle of the day can be incredibly therapeutic.
5. Don’t overdo things after treatment
After acupuncture people will usually tend to feel either energised or a bit spaced out. If you feel sleepy, it’s an indicator that you should try to rest. If you feel energised, just be careful not to exhaust yourself.
6. A few practical things
- Wear loose clothing for your acupuncture sessions. This makes it much quicker and easier to get to the points without you having to change into a gown.
- Drink plenty of water after treatment.
- Avoid alcohol on the day of treatment.
7. Keep track of how you’re feeling
Try to remember how your symptoms change between treatments, or if anything new arises. Noting any particular times of day or activities that trigger symptoms can also be valuable information for your acupuncturist.