Tips for Navigating Your First Acupuncture Session

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The practice of acupuncture is continuing to gain momentum and fans in the United States though it has long been thought beneficial in other parts of the world. Proponents have recommended it as a treatment for everything from arthritis or back pain to insomnia and stress disorders. If you happen upon a spa that provides this service while traveling, and you are game to try this holistic treatment, here are tips to make your first session a success. Wear Loose Clothing Wearing loose fitting, comfortable clothing will allow your acupuncturist the access he/she needs to insert the needles. Keep in mind that treatment often involves the legs, arms, lower back, and abdomen, so wearing tank tops and shorts or loose sweats may be your best options. Consider leaving your jewelry at home (or in the hotel safe, if you are traveling). Binding items at your wrist, such as bracelets or watches, are likely to be removed before starting treatment. Eat a Light Meal If possible, eat a light meal before your session. Much like the reaction to an intense massage, having acupuncture on an empty stomach may leave you feeling light-headed or weakened. On the other hand, heavy meals may leave you feeling lethargic and could impede your response to treatment. Save that great hotel burger for after your session. Avoid Ingesting Caffeine Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages such as soda or coffee for at least two hours before treatment. That can be difficult if your appointment is early in the day, and you need coffee in the morning to feel fully-functional. However, stimulants can impact your heart rate, and both soda and coffee can stain your tongue. The presence of tongue discoloration or quickened heartbeat may mask other symptoms and could alter your treatment or make it less effective. Avoid Heavy Perfumes or Make-up Much like the case with caffeine, heavy perfumes, and applications can mask symptoms that would be health red flags. Heavy use of either may impede your acupuncturist’s ability to give you the most effective treatment. It is best to refrain from adding either to the mix. Schedule Wisely Your first session with an acupuncturist will likely last approximately 90 minutes. The first third of that time will include a health review session. Your acupuncturist will not only assess your physical needs and principal complaints but will also ask you questions ranging from sleep habits to job stress. Your pulse will be taken, tongue and eyes checked and, in general, they will be looking for patterns that may present clues relating to your ailments in order to give you the best possible treatment. Give yourself enough to time to relax prior to the appointment and after the session. Agitation prior to the session may make accurate assessment difficult, and you do not want to undo your relaxed session-state by having to rush off to another appointment, or sight-seeing jaunt.


Patricia S.

Patricia S.

Los Angeles, California, United States

After nearly 17 years as a Business Development Analyst for one of the world's largest corporate law firms, Patricia Steffy turned her attention to travel and creative writing endeavors. As the author of more than 500+ travel articles, Steffy has been published in USAToday.com...

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