Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that’s been around for 4,000 years. It uses very fine and sterile needles to heal aches, pains, and ailments. It also has restorative abilities to help the body to regain strength and balance. If you want to try this natural way of healing your body, here are suggestions for preparing for this treatment.
1. Look for a reputable and trusted acupuncturist. Acupuncture is a science and one that should be studied comprehensively. Your ideal acupuncturist should have studied Oriental Medicine with an M.A. in the Science of Acupuncture. This is a non-negotiable requirement in your search. Acupuncture can be life-threatening because the procedure itself stimulates the brain and the spine so any wrong positioning of the needles by a pseudo-acupuncturist can be lethal for you. You can find certified acupuncturists at the local hospital or if you live in New York or New Jersey, you can go to the Sloan Kettering Center; Acupuncture Institute for Women with Disabilities at the Hospital for Joint Diseases; and Pacific Professional Health Services located in Manhattan.
2. Think about your reasons for seeking acupuncture treatment. Have you been told about acupuncture and would want to try it out? What do you expect to get out of it? Is acupuncture your last resort to banish pain? Answer all these questions and write down your answers. If you think of more questions you would want to ask your acupuncturist, write these down too. Everything relevant should be asked since this is your first time.
3. Zero in on your major complaints then rank these accordingly. Migraine, allergies, snoring, insomnia? Whatever health issues are bugging you enough to seek acupuncture treatment should also be written down and ranked prior to your initial treatment. This will help your acupuncturist find the correct acupuncture treatment for you.
4. Keep a daily journal of how often the symptoms appear. Here’s how to go about it.
- When was the first time you felt these symptoms?
- How often do these symptoms occur?
- How long have you been feeling this way?
- What do you think sets these symptoms off?
- Do you feel that you are getting worse over time?
- How has these symptoms affected your daily life?
- Are you taking medication? If yes, list these down
- How many times during the day do these symptoms exhibit itself?
5. Define the pain that you feel. You are not mistaken in thinking that pain is simply that…pain. That’s how you feel. However, by trying to define it, you are actually helping your acupuncturist plot the treatment that you need to eradicate it. Pain can be defined as: shooting, stabbing, pins and needles, numbing, pounding, burning, constant, sharp, tight, radiating, and extreme or heavy. This may be difficult to define but try for the sake of reaching a solution to your condition.
6. Eat very light meals throughout the day prior to your acupuncture schedule. Do not eat food that is starchy, spicy, oily, salty, or rich while preparing for the acupuncture treatment. These will over-stimulate your digestive system resulting to an upset stomach.
7. Stay clear of alcohol one day prior to your acupuncture treatment. Alcohol numbs your system making you unable to respond properly to the treatment. Ditto, you must not take alcohol immediately after the treatment. To be very certain (and if you can’t stay dry that long), ask your acupuncturist how soon after the treatment you can drink your alcohol of choice.
8. Do not subject yourself to heavy and physical exertion. This means no pilates, pole dancing, lifting, running, and sexual activity before and immediately after the treatment. Again, seek clearance from your acupuncturist before performing any of these activities.
Wear comfortable clothes for the treatment. You will be asked to roll up your sleeves and pant legs for the treatment. In acupuncture, needles are positioned on the knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists so as you can see there is a clear need for you to dress comfortably for this purpose.