Top tips for preparing for your first acupuncture session

If you’re thinking about booking in for an acupuncture treatment there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the most out of the experience.

ASK SILLY QUESTIONS

Trying something new for the first time can be daunting and you may have questions that you feel awkward about asking.  Firstly – don’t worry about asking ‘silly’ questions! I for one welcome anyone’s questions about acupuncture as it gives me a chance to talk about my favourite subject.  It’s easy as a practitioner to forget how much we know compared to our patient and we sometimes gloss over things that you need to know more about.  So before you book in, have a think about what questions you have and ask them on the phone or during your initial consultation.

CHECK YOUR PRACTITIONER’S CREDENTIALS

Your first question should be whether your practitioner is a member of a regulatory body.  The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) regulates the majority of acupuncturists in the UK and ensure that we are suitably trained, qualified, insured and that we keep our continuing professional development up to date. Acupuncturists should carry the logo on their website and you can check directly with the BAcC for registered practitioners in your area. If you are visiting someone who isn’t BAcC registered you should make sure that they are regulated by an organisation that is listed on the Public Standards Authority (PSA) register.

REFLECT

Once you’ve booked in it’s worth spending a bit of time thinking about where you are now and where you want to be following treatment….  If you’re in pain – how does it feel on a scale of 1-10?  How does the pain change during the day/night?  Does anything make it better or worse? Where would you like to be in 1 month/3 months/next year?

MAKE SURE YOU’RE COMFORTABLE

Most importantly make sure you’re wearing loose-fitting and comfortable clothes.  The majority of the points we use are on the lower arms and legs but there are over 365 points all over the body and we’ll need to get access to them!

It’s also really important to have something to eat and drink before you have an acupuncture treatment.  If you’ve got an empty stomach or are dehydrated you may end up feeling a little dizzy.  And always have a drink of water afterwards.

BRING YOUR NOTES

Trying to reduce the amount of pain killers you’re taking or bring your blood pressure down? – don’t forget to write down the names and doses of your medication.

Trying to lose weight? – keep a food diary for a week so we can look at what changes you can make to support your weight loss.

Trying for a baby? – bring any fertility charts you’ve been keeping and have an idea of what pattern your cycle is following.

CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Let your practitioner know what your expectations are and check that they’re achievable. We’ve all heard of someone who’s had acupuncture once and leapt off the bed with no back pain.  Is that realistic for you? You should feel different in some way after every treatment but it can take weeks, or in the case of fertility treatment sometimes months, for you to reach your end goal.  Make sure your expectations are realistic.

CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE

Even though you’re lying down relaxing during an acupuncture treatment your body is hard at work so you can feel tired afterwards.  It’s always nice to know you’ve got a clear evening to have an early night if you need one.

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