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People often wonder what they should and should not do after an acupuncture treatment. Most recommendations for post acupuncture advice come down to being good to yourself.

Acupuncture gets things moving, potentially causing your body to react in ways that it’s not used to. You want to honor that experience by giving yourself time to see how things shake out.

So, how do you be good to yourself? Here are some ways you can make the most of your treatment!

Rest

You don’t have to literally lie down or take a nap (although, bonus if you can). By rest, I mean, go easy. Don’t babysit for your sister’s colicky baby and two-month-old puppy. Don’t stay up really late that night. Some people get a jolt of energy after acupuncture, but better to savor the boost—chances are, you need it. Resting allows the physical and emotional restoration that acupuncture sets in motion to continue.

Go light on exercise

A lot of people ask whether they can workout after treatment. Exercise is fine—light, gradual movement can be a nice adjunct to an acupuncture treatment—but be gentle. If you’re a runner, try walking on the day you have treatment. If you normally take advanced yoga classes, give a beginner or intermediate class a whirl.

Use heat

One of the most common questions I get from people who are going to acupuncture for pain relief is, “Should I use heat or ice?” From an acupuncture perspective, many pain conditions are caused by stagnation. Things are not moving smoothly through the channels, causing blockages that lead to pain. Acupuncture restores flow, helping to eliminate these blockages. Looking at pain in this way, you can contrast bathe – using heat and ice in equal measures.

Avoid alcohol and coffee

It’s important to stay hydrated after any treatment not just acupuncture because it can cause toxins to be released into your system. Staying appropriately hydrated helps flush out these toxins. Since alcohol and coffee both cause dehydrating effects on the body, they should be avoided after acupuncture.

 

Turn off the TV

Acupuncture helps bring you into a place of balance, where your sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight response) is no longer in overdrive. Your mind is calmer and clearer, enjoying a respite from the overstimulating world in which we live. As soon as you click on that TV, it all comes flooding back—incessant advertising, screaming pundits, news flashes, noise and more noise. Keep the TV off and you’ll extend your state of acu-bliss.

Eat good food

Acupuncture helps bring the toxins out. Don’t knowingly put them back in by eating poor-quality food. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Think about food as sustenance, and eating as an opportunity to continue healing your body after acupuncture. When we conceive of food in this way, fast food and other junk become less appealing. After acupuncture, imagine the foods that would make you feel nourished and healthy, then go eat them.

 

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