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How To Get the Most out of Your Acupuncture Treatment

There are no hard and fast rules about how to prepare for an acupuncture appointment, but there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your treatment. We’ll be providing you with basics such as what to wear, what to drink, whether to eat, how much time to set aside, and other important tidbits.

What to do before an acupuncture appointment?

Avoid scheduling anything strenuous immediately before or after your treatment. It’s a good idea to make sure you buffer time around your acupuncture appointment so that you’re not rushing into or out of the appointment and you’re not stressed while you’re receiving the treatment.  

What to wear to acupuncture?

Wear loose, comfortable clothing or bring gym clothes to change into. Often, the practitioner will need to access various body areas and will need you to roll up your pants or sleeves. For our patients who are unable to do this, we provide sheets and coverings to ensure your comfort. 

Should you eat before acupuncture?

Avoid being too hungry or too full during your acupuncture session. You want to be nourished, but not actively digesting a heavy meal during your treatment. 

Why should you drink water before and after acupuncture?

Staying hydrated is important before and after acupuncture because your body can release toxins into your system. Drinking water before and after your acupuncture treatment. helps to flush out these toxins. 

Is it ok to drink coffee before acupuncture?

Avoid caffeine for at least a couple of hours before your treatment.  Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant, which can directly counteract the effects of an acupuncture treatment. Coffee also has a dehydrating effect on the body, so it is a good idea to avoid coffee after acupuncture as well. We recommend increasing your water intake.

Can you drink alcohol before acupuncture?

Do not drink alcohol before an acupuncture treatment. It is also advisable to avoid or reduce alcohol consumption for the rest of the day following an acupuncture treatment. Some people find that they are more sensitive to or have negative reactions to alcohol following acupuncture.

What to expect during an acupuncture appointment?

Depending on the complexity of the treatment, new patients can expect to be with their acupuncturist between 30-50 minutes while returning patients will have about 15-30 minutes of face to face time. You can expect to rest on the table for 20-30 minutes.

Acupuncture uses needles that are about the size of a few pieces of hair. The needles are relatively painless, but you may feel itching, aching, pinching, or a number of other sensations at the location of the needles. Treatments could include other healing modalities like gua sha, massage, cupping, Chinese herbs, moxibustion, or acupressure.

We provide a calm and soothing environment with ambient music. You may choose to bring headphones to listen to your own music or guided meditation. If you are sensitive to light, we recommend bringing an eye mask to use during the treatment.

How long does the first acupuncture treatment last?

Your first acupuncture treatments will last about 90 minutes. Due to the COVID pandemic, we have created a hybrid online meeting and in-office acupuncture treatment. 

Your chief complaint and medical history are collected during a 30 minute online visit, and your physical assessments and acupuncture treatment are conducted during a 50-minute in-office acupuncture visit. It’s preferred that these visits are booked on the same day, but we’re able to accommodate the visits on different days if necessary.

How long do return acupuncture treatments last?

Return acupuncture treatments will last about 60 minutes. You’ll spend some time checking in with your acupuncturist and then you’ll receive a treatment. The total time for the visit is between 50-60 minutes. In the event your condition needs to be reassessed or your chief complaint has changed, we may ask you to book an online visit to update your medical record.

What to expect after an acupuncture treatment

Relaxation: Many patients experience a deep sense of relaxation that can last hours. You may have difficulty focusing or concentrating because of this sensation. 

Modern medical research has demonstrated the body has higher endorphin levels after an acupuncture treatment, which can explain the “natural high” patients feel afterward. The best thing to do for yourself after an acupuncture treatment is to rest. 

Emotions: Patients may experience a heightened sense of emotion after their acupuncture treatment. They can become irritable, weepy, cry without reason, or express a number of different emotions. This is normal because sometimes humans just need to empty their bottled up emotional bucket every so often – acupuncture helps to facilitate these emotional releases. Most patients feel emotionally lighter a few days after an emotional release.

Pain Relief: Pain management is one of the fastest growing fields for acupuncture because of the instantaneous results the modality offers. Some patients may experience long-lasting pain relief after an acupuncture treatment, while others may need several treatments before they experience improvement. In some cases, the pain may return more severe in which case we recommend rest, relaxation, and topicals like CBD ointment.

Detoxification: It is common to have increased urination or changes in bowel movements after an acupuncture treatment. These signs indicate your body eliminating toxins and detoxifying your system. It’s important to keep your water intake up to keep flushing your system.

We’re looking forward to helping you on your journey to better health.

The key things to remember in preparing for an acupuncture appointment are to give yourself plenty of time, drink plenty of water, and wear loose clothing. An acupuncture treatment can last between 60-90 minutes, and it is important to give yourself a time buffer to reduce your stress. We also recommend minimizing coffee intake before and after an acupuncture treatment, and avoiding alcohol prior to your treatment. Your body will thank you for taking these steps as acupuncture can reduce pain, improve relaxation, balance emotions, and detoxify your system.

Are you ready to try acupuncture? You can schedule an appointment or verify your insurance benefits online. We’re in-network with CareFirst/BlueCross/BlueShield, Aetna, and United Healthcare. Our team wishes health and wellness.

With Blessings,
The Transformational Team

About the Author

Adam Miramon, DACM, DiplAc, LAc

As a practitioner and healer in Washington, DC for more than a decade, I take a patient-centered approach to care through acupuncture, cupping, herbal medicines, and mind-body coaching, with a specialty in full-spectrum reproductive health care.

Does Your Insurance Cover Acupuncture?

We're in-network with CareFirst, Aetna, and United Healthcare. We'd be happy to check your insurance policy to see if our services would be covered—no strings attached.

Transformational Acupuncture
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