Knowing what to do after the acupuncture session will make a difference in maximising the benefit of your acupuncture treatment, observing from my 30 years of practice.
You may feel blissfully relaxed, flared up with pain, or stirred up suppressed emotions after acupuncture. To know WHY you have these reactions, check out the article “What to expect after acupuncture“. To learn WHAT to do to speed up your healing, you can follow these steps.
The key purpose of these practices is to avoid being counterproductive to the acupuncture process and also to elongate the benefit of relaxation and energy reset. First, let’s look at what shoulder be avoid.
By limiting these events, you are calm your stress reactions which allow the body to stay in a relaxed state and deepen the energy reset.
When you have an acupuncture session with a holistic approach, your body has done a reset of the entire energy system. It would relax your muscles and lower the stress hormones and even slow down your breath. Your body is likely to feel tired and relaxed instead of go for action.
As a rule of thumb, you will do intense exercise after an overnight rest. It echos an old English saying: “sleep on it“- delay of any intense actions on your body until the following day, so your body has time to reset and recalibrate.
For some reason, you insist on exercising. Then, I recommend to work out at a level that does not cause out of breath or dripping sweating. A hard workout would activate your stress hormones. A moderate exercise would allow a gentle blood flow throughout the body to add relaxation. Having sex is counted as intense activity.
Massage or other manual therapies can be some form of stimulus to your body. While your body just had the energy reset by acupuncture, it can be confused to receive another force of readjusting its flow. It is preferred to have them on the other day.
The intense heat from Sauna and bath is considered an extra stimulation that may undo the energy reset. However hot showers are okay after acupuncture.
Coffee and Alcohol are other forms of stimulus which may disturb the balanced energy state. Drinking warm water and herbal teas are recommended.
While acupuncture is all about improving blood circulation, using ice on pain sites would block the blood flow which is counterproductive. Applying heat while resting is recommended for the pain flare-up after the session.
When you eliminated all the not-to-dos, you are halfway there. When you follow whatever remaining Dos, you are able to supercharge your recovery.
Drinking warm tea, take time to yawn and zone out, or simply sitting under the sun would do the trick. If you have to go back to work after acupuncture, I recommend operating at a “soft-pedaling” mode, thus not kick in stimuli. However, zone out in front of a TV show or browsing on social media is not relaxing. It stirring up emotions and zap your energy.
If you feel sleepy after acupuncture, take a nap or go to bed earlier on the same day. It enables a fast-track of energy recharge for your body. I have many patients who slept 10+ hours after the session and feeling great afterward.
As suppressed emotions are merged to the surface and the heavy lid of the emotion container has melted away by the acupuncture, I have seen patients cried for hours after acupuncture. Some said it was so satisfying able to express emotions openly like a kid again. The suppressed emotional stress in the body is similar to the pressure inside a volcano. After an eruption, it would return to a dormant stage. Just try to be a 5-years old yourself, to express your feelings openly which allows you to return to an emotionally neutral state.
If the pain flared up again after acupuncture, most of them don’t last more than 24 hours. By relaxing into the pain with mindful breathing, you may notice the pain is often manageable. It could serve as an opportunity to train you to be present and be more resilient with pain. Physically, allow your body to have more rest and apply heat packs and use one-off painkillers if needed. As far as the pain, it is short-lived, you know you can handle it. Please Do not add fear on top of the pain.
Because the reactions happen on multiple levels, and along with busy life, you can lose track of what has happened. Note down a few keywords and share them with your acupuncturist on your next visit. Aware of any changes in your sleeping pattern, energy levels, appetite, bowel movement, and any new pain sites.
In the ideal world, if you follow all these steps, you are likely to experience more profound positive changes with your acupuncture treatment. Yet, in this time-poor and multitasking living, every little change is encouraged. By simply avoid TV and social media, going to bed earlier, giving yourself brief moments to zone out – when accumulating these small steps together, it can be transformational.
Most importantly, have an open mind for all possibilities when you try acupuncture to help your health condition. Surprise changes may happen at mental, energy, and physical levels. Just remember: What’s in the way is the way!