acupuncture tips
Acupuncture, FAQ

9 Tips for a Great Acupuncture Experience

So, you’re ready to try acupuncture. Read our post on “Your First Acupuncture Treatment” for what to expect on your first visit. Beyond knowing what to expect you want to have the best experience possible, so here are 9 tips to follow to ensure you have a great acupuncture experience.

Do Your Research

Many different allied health professionals can stick needles in you and they all call it something different.  Do a little research before you book an appointment so you aren’t surprised when you get there.  In Alberta the term “Registered Acupuncturist” is a protected title and can only be used by members of the College and Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta who have taken appropriate education, passed a rigorous board exam and maintain their credentials with continuing education.  You can use their “Find a Practitioner” service to find a registered acupuncturist near you.

Communicate Your Goals

Your first visit will likely include a thorough assessment and history taking.  You will be asked lots of questions about many parts of your life and body (from emotions to bowel movements and beyond). The more information you give your acupuncturist about your health history (symptoms, concerns, medications, illnesses, surgeries, etc.) the better your treatment will be.  To have a great acupuncture experience make sure you discuss your goals for each treatment.  Your concerns may change over time as your health improves so continue to communicate.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Many of the strongest acupuncture points are located on the forearms/hands and lower legs/feet.  Be prepared to roll up your pants and shirt sleeves.  Wear loose, comfortable clothing so that you can relax and breathe freely during your appointment.  Tight pants, itchy sweaters, and restrictive cuffs can all be a distraction and keep you from feeling relaxed.  If you tend to get chilled easily when you relax request a blanket or heat lamp. The body tends to cool off quickly when resting, so even though you were warm to start you may find yourself getting cool during your “acunap“.

Avoid coffee, sugar & heavy meals

Coffee and sugar create changes in the body that will alter your pulse and tongue making it difficult for your acupuncturist to create a good diagnosis.  Both of these substances will give you a boost of energy and cause your pulse to speed up.  Coffee, tea and food dyes will alter the colour of your tongue coating which will interfere with a good diagnosis.

Eat a light meal or snack before your treatment.  You don’t want to be hungry or feeling faint during your treatment.  Nor do you want a heavy meal sitting like lead in your belly while you are trying to relax.

Turn off your electronics

Your appointment is a time for you to look after yourself and work on healing.  Make sure distractions such as phone calls, texts, emails, alarms etc are all turned off.  They can all wait until you are done.


It has been shown that stress, and its effects on the body, are a causative factor in many of the chronic illnesses that are common today. Relaxation is vital to good health.  During deep relaxation (as well as dreaming, meditation and hypnosis) the brain experiences theta waves which are the best for both body and mind to heal.  Theta brainwave activity promotes rejuvenation, growth, and healing. The relaxation that is part of the acupuncture experience helps the body and mind begin to restore themselves to recover from illness, as well as mental burnout and physical exertion. Theta waves also help boost the immune system and can thus be a preventative medicine as well.

Take it easy after treatment

Everyone reacts differently to acupuncture.  Some people feel energized, some feel mellow or sleepy.  Allow your body time to adjust to the changes begun during treatment.  Taking a gentle stroll, yin yoga class or hot bath post-treatment are great.  Save the cross-fit, boot camp workout or marathon training session for another day. Continue the effects of your acupuncture experience by eating a light, healthy meal and drinking plenty of water or green tea to stay hydrated.

Do your homework

The needles of acupuncture are just a part of the healing system that is Traditional Chinese Medicine. Your treatment plan may include changes in diet, herbal medicines and lifestyle changes.  Following all of the recommendations given to you by your acupuncturist will increase the effectiveness of your acupuncture treatments.

Commit to the process

Don’t go to one treatment expecting a miracle cure.  No one’s body heal that fast.  Healing is a process and no matter which path you choose it will take time.  Commit to the process and get treatments regularly.  Discuss a plan that works for your budget and time restrictions with your acupuncturist and then stick to it.  Recognize that less frequent treatments will result in slower progress toward your goal.