8 steps to maximise your acupuncture treatment.
Here are my top tips to maximise the acupuncture treatment and get optimal benefits, which of course means more bang for your buck!
The video here is the same as the text below, giving you have a choice of how you want to learn how to maximise the effects of the acupuncture treatment. You are welcome to read it all, or click the links to jump to the ones most relevant to you :)
3. What to wear
6. Switch off
Commit to the treatment plan - dosage matters!
My first suggestion to maximise the acupuncture treatment is to promise yourself you will commit to the treatment plan I suggest. I will discuss this with you once I have an idea of what you are needing treatment for, how long you have had it and other health information that might influence the efficacy of the treatment - medication for example.
If I suggest once a week for 6 weeks, or 2/3 times a week for 1 or 2 weeks then reduce, or even weekly for 3-6 months it is because the research and my experience of whatever your condition(s) are tell me that is what you’ll need.
If you had an infection that warranted a course of anti-biotics – you wouldn’t take one and expect to be completely healed.. acupuncture is the same – its not a one and done, your and your body needs a course of acupuncture (or other therapy) to help change its current pattern and allow the innate healing powers to kick in.
We are a no bull service – if we don’t think we can help – we will say, if we say you’ll need 3-6 months of regular care, we are saying to ensure you fully get the benefits of the treatments we offer and to help get you well.
Healing also isn’t linear – none of life is to be fair – usually after the 1st one or two sessions you’ll feel a fairly significant improvement, and then with time, the symptoms will start to return (but typically with far less severity), so we need to help manage that every changing dynamic that is our bodies!
For some with super stressful lives, or degenerative conditions that can mean a lifetime of care, of ongoing support – some commit to regular once a month sessions, other disappear for months or even years and return when their symptoms do (e.g an electrician I work with has chronic lower back pain thanks to the nature of his work – and he pops in for one or two sessions maybe every 3-4 years as needed).
Planning your Journey helps to maximise the effects of acupuncture.
It might seem like a bit of a no brainer, but its not that unusual for folks to get lost/get held up in traffic or are late because they couldn’t find a parking space, or their train is cancelled, and not only can that reduce the time that we get together (I don’t have much time flexibility so it means your session would be shorter) but I also find most folks are harassed and takes them a while to relax again, thus negatively impacting their session as end up having to destress – and I get that it happens from time to time, but as the saying goes- failing to prepare is preparing to fail!
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Using public transport
Getting the train – check Scotrail for your train: you can now also buy your tickets via your mobile phone if you have the Scotrail app, if you buy an off peak return by the way they don’t stop you getting on if you have paid for a different time to that which you turn up.. (at least that has been my experience!) oh and if you need it we have a multi charger if your phone battery is low!
Same for the busses – check your time table.
Underground – now its VERY rare that this is not running, but still double check! https://www.spt.co.uk/travel-with-spt/subway/ - i think it is pretty much 6 and 2 3s but St Enoch station is probably marginally closer.
Using your car
I often use google maps journey planner just to check the timing of somewhere, I find it fairly accurate, especially in cases of heavy traffic, being city centre we are affected by rush hour traffic – so allow extra time.
It is worth downloading and activating the ‘Ringgo’ app (https://ringgo.co.uk/) if you are planning on street parking, as then you don’t need to worry about change (charges apply 8am to 6pm in the local areas). It is worth noting that any sat nav I have used tries to drop me at the front door to the clinic – which unless you have a blue badge is a bit pointless as the nearest street parking is Wellington Street, so enter that instead of the actual street address.
Check the Low Emission Zone information if you are driving
What to wear to maximise the benefits of your acupuncture treatment
Acupuncture is not performed through clothing for hygiene reasons, so I will need access to areas of your skin – as a general rule, it looks like your off for a paddle on a sunny day – so lower arms, lower legs, but also back or abdomen and head. That said it does depend on what you are seeking the acupuncture treatment for – e.g. if you have hip issues then I will need access to hips.
I’d recommend wearing loose comfortable clothing and clean undies! I do have lots of towels to protect your modesty.
I typically DO NOT leave the room while you undress – I will NEVER ask you to undress beyond your comfort level – you will ALWAYS have your bottom half on (knickers/boxers etc) but occasionally depending on the style of the bra I might need to unhook you or ask o to take it off, especially the racer back style, again, I will always protect your modestly. I like to think I am sensitive when folks feel more comfortable with me leaving the room, but if I don’t pick up on it please don’t be afraid to say ‘can I get a minute’. I generally am getting myself organised for your treatment, washing my hands, so tend to have my back to you anyway while you get up on the bed.
I know it can be hard to believe but I’m not looking and in the nicest possible way I don’t really care what bits of your body look like other than medical type stuff – like skin conditions, or discolouration or I couldn’t care less if you have shaved your legs, done your nails, ensured your wearing a matching set!!
Food and drink suggestions to maximise your acupuncture treatment
Food wise – try not to come on an empty stomach as it can affect your blood sugar and your then more likely to feel a bit dizzy after the session, and by the same token don’t come stuffed cos you can be uncomfortable lying down – especially if your face down.
Fluids, similar, you don’t want get half way through your treatment and suddenly be absolutely bursting for the loo.. but don’t want to be parched either!
I’m afraid I also need to suggest a temporary halt on the caffeine intake (coffee, black tea, fizzy juice and chocolate all contain caffeine), as it can potentially in the short term, reduce the efficacy of the acupuncture (reference), especially for pain management. Its not the end of the world if you can’t function without your fix (but with my help you wont NEED it any more), but the preference is to try to avoid – especially within an hour of the treatment. Interestingly acupuncture has been shown to also reduce the effects of caffeine's ability to cause insomnia (so actually you’ll not be getting the full benefit of the caffeine either! (reference)
My next top tip to maximise your acupuncture treatment - Go to the loo!
The clinic is situated in a wee office type building, it has separate ‘male’ and ‘female’ toilets. Id highly recommend nipping to the loo before we start the treatment.
The toilets are at separate ends of the 3rd floor, behind locked doors – it’s a super secure building!
boys is on the same side as us, but gals is the other side, and it behind a door that I need to give you access to – first time I tend to show, but for most of my regulars I know to hand them the key when they arrive so they can nip in before we start the session .
All that said – please just ask if you need at any time.. just means your session MIGHT be cut a bit short if timing doesn’t allow for needle reinsertion.
We are so on and available all the time these days, give yourself complete permission to disconnect from your life while you are in the clinic – if that means telling your school/nursery, demanding teenager etc to find someone else to contact then DO IT.
Switch your phone off – or at least on ‘do not disturb’ type function. (and I do understand this isn’t always possible – and I’ll not be shouting at you for not doing it!).
And actually – I’d recommend doing that anyway – i.e unless its an urgent thing, swich off the notification on your phone – so all my social media notifications are off, whatsapp ( which I TEND to use for more personal communications doesn’t make any noise), so just work emails and phone calls and text messages make noise on my phone (when I’m not at work!), Ive also switched off the keyboard noises on my phone all in an attempt to reduce the constant NOISE we hear. To give me back that control of not having to constantly check my phone because its beeping away at me, but rather set some boundaries with myself to only check the non important stuff (like social media) when it suits ME…
Let me know if you are NOT comfortable ..
DON’T BE SHY – if in any way shape or form you are uncomfortable otherwise you'll never completely relax and enjoy the session, thus reducing how effective it'll be - so please say something.
I tend to keep the rooms around 22/23 Degrees so your warm enough, but some find it too warm, and its easy enough to switch a heater off! I have an electric blanket on the beds in all 3 rooms, which are temp adjustable and can be switched off.
I have a selection of pillows, adjustable beds (in two of the 3 rooms), and have picked up tricks with towels to help e.g got a large chest but need treatment facedown – pillow under the hips to take pressure off both boobs and back, and then rolled towels under the shoulders to help support the shoulders that your chest will have floating off the bed!
I will also say that ALL The chairs, and treatment beds are designed to safely support at LEAST 25 stone, the beds are up to 40-50 stone total… I’ve had a wee cheapy bed snap on me before when I was a patient, and a chair for that matter, and I was so embarrassed (even though I shouldn’t have been, they were using cheap, unsuitable furniture!) and wouldn’t want that for you, so I ensure I am doing all i can to learn fro my own journey with my health (more info here)
After years of looking at bodies on my bed I can usually spot and make minor adjustments to the position of the pillows etc to help optimise your comfort , but please tell me (or any other therapist you see) if you are not physically comfortable or for example if what they are doing isn’t right for you.
There are literally acupuncture points all over the body, and typically I use lower arm, lower legs, abdomen, back, head and face – depending on whats going on for you. But if there is an area of your body you don’t want touched/needled – I ALWAYS have other options – e.g I worked with a woman a few years ago who requested no head points, a gent who didn’t like the idea of needles in his tummy, someone else who doesn’t like shins. I can modify my treatments accordingly and it is genuinely NO issue for me at all to modify – but I am not psychic – you need to tell me.
As a general rule once your relaxed on your return sessions you are left alone to snooze, but if this is super uncomfortable for you just say – ill make it work so I can stay with you. You are left with a buzzer and its not like I’ve nipped to the pub downstairs!
Give yourself time after the session
please dont undo all my good work..
Be aware that most commonly folks feel a bit ‘spacy’ after the session, so in an ideal world try not to plan too much after your session, give yourself that permission to relax, to have a peaceful rest of day doing the stuff that fills your soul..
go for a wander along the water front, or head to your local park for a donder
go for a lovely meal with your favourite person
plan a wee evening of your favourite tv/film
get a book organised to curl up on the sofa.
Do some meal prep so your not stood cooking for hours, or worse yet going shopping straight after a session
Make sure your work stuff is DONE for the day so you can relax afterwards.
Have a bath with some Epsom salts (a great way to give yourself a magnesium boost too!)
Also give yourself the luxury of an early night.
Obviously all of the above is dream life stuff – and I get that life is pulling us in all sorts of directions at all times so please don’t feel you need to all or even any of it – but perhaps don’t come on a day when you have like a 50th birthday party or gig that night – or even a HUGE work meeting with an hour or so of your session.
I have tried to give you some useful information to make the most out of the acupuncture sessions you have with me, but I get that this is all perfect life stuff, and not always practical, but hopefully the information will help not only alleviate any concerns but give you an insight of what is happening!
If you enjoyed this you might also like to read:
what to expect during your initial acupuncture session
Frequently Asked questions here about acupuncture, the clinic and the therapists.
and some 'information for newbies' if you want to get ahead of the game - but i will go through this with you.