5 Things to Know Before Your First Acupuncture Session

acupuncture Columbus, OH

You may have heard of acupuncture but are not sure how it works or whether it would be beneficial for you. However, your doctor has recently encouraged you to give it a try. While you are all about getting relief from pain, you do not necessarily understand how needles can alleviate it. To ease your stress, take a look at these five things you should know before you go to your first session.

Points to keep in mind before your appointment

1. The needles are not what you think

When you hear about needles, you may be picturing hypodermic-sized needles like the ones used to draw blood or give shots. In reality, the needles used to administer acupuncture treatment are much tinier. Needles come in gauges, and the higher the number, the smaller the needle. A hypodermic needle ranges in size from 25 to 27 gauges whereas an acupuncture needle is between 30 to 40 gauges.  The depth of the needle depends on where in the body it is being inserted. The average is between 3 and 5 millimeters. Most patients do not report pain when the needles are inserted due to their small size and shallow insertion.

2. You should eat something before you go

According to the Huffington Post, if you do not eat two hours before getting treatment, you may feel lightheaded. Your belly does not have to be full, but you should have something in there. Otherwise, you may start to feel lightheaded and sick during and after treatment. If you forget to eat, make sure you stop and grab a snack to down on your way.

3. Do not schedule anything after

Part of acupuncture deals with getting you to relax. The body can only heal itself when it is not revved up preparing for the next big thing you have to do. Accordingly, you should not schedule an appointment when you have to run somewhere afterward. Being worried or anxious may lead to adverse side effects like nausea or lethargy. You may also feel tired right after the treatment ends. It is critical that you allow your body and mind to enjoy the experience and unwind.

4. Know the details of your medical history

Acupuncturists take a detailed medical history. You want to know family medical history, accidents and traumas your body has sustained, broken bones, surgeries or significant illnesses. You also want to let the treater know what medications you take. Do not be surprised if you are asked about bodily functions like bowel movements and urination.

5. Avoid your morning latte

Whether you are accustomed to a single latte or six cups of coffee, you should skip it the day of your treatment. Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause your heart rate to increase and your breathing to quicken. Since acupuncture is meant to counteract this fight-or-flight type of body system, introducing caffeine may render the process moot.

Conclusion

Acupuncture is a common alternative treatment for many types of conditions and illnesses. Doctors are starting to recommend patients utilize it along with other treatment aids. Knowing what to expect before an appointment can help calm the nerves.

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