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When Is the Ideal Time for an Acupuncture Treatment?

Have you ever wondered if the timing of your acupuncture session influences the effectiveness of the treatment? Although acupuncture will usually help relieve your symptoms no matter when you schedule your appointment, there are a few exceptions to that rule. For best results, it may be wise to schedule your appointment at these times.

After a Light Meal

Heavy meals, particularly those that involve greasy foods, may upset your stomach. If you're more focused on your cramps or stomach pain, you may not reap the full benefits of your acupuncture session. Although you certainly shouldn't avoid eating before a visit to the acupuncturist, it's best to eat a light, healthy meal a few hours before your appointment. Try to avoid beverages that contain caffeine on the day of your visit, as the stimulant can interfere with healing.

When You Have Ample Time to Relax

Relaxation plays an important role in the healing process. Your results may not last as long if you exercise strenuously after your treatment, schedule back-to-back meetings for the rest of the day, or host a sleepover for your child's energetic friends.

Increasing your water intake after you leave the acupuncturist's office will help your body remove the toxins released during your treatment. Stay away from alcohol or caffeine for at least one day after treatment. Both beverages can dehydrate you and may interfere with the positive effects of acupuncture.

Before and During Your Fertility Journey

It's best to begin acupuncture treatments three to six months before you would like to become pregnant. Acupuncture treatment may increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, improve egg quality, raise sperm counts in men, regulate hormones and the menstrual cycle, help thicken the uterine lining and lower the possibility of a miscarriage.

If you've been trying to become pregnant without success, acupuncture can help enhance your fertility. Acupuncture can be used alone or in conjunction with fertility treatments. Treatment not only improves the rate of pregnancy but may also decrease unpleasant side effects that can occur when you take fertility drugs.

Before or After a Stressful Event

Acupuncture may help you recover from a stressful event and also reduce stress and anxiety if offered before the event. In a Georgetown University study, researchers discovered that electroacupuncture decreased levels of a protein that has been linked to chronic stress in rats. The treatment not only helped the rats recover from a stressful experience but also protected them from feeling stressed or anxious in the future.

Whether you're dreading a contentious work meeting or wishing you could skip a reunion with your significant other's argumentative family, scheduling an acupuncture session a day or two in advance may help you remain calmer. After the event is over, an acupuncture session can ease lingering stress, anxiety, depression or anger.

During the Afternoon or Evening if You Have Insomnia

Sleeping pills are quite effective if you have trouble sleeping, but these medications may cause side effects ranging from headaches to diarrhea to memory problems. Acupuncture offers an effective, drug-free way to improve the quality and duration of your sleep. After your appointment, you're likely to feel calm, relaxed and a little drowsy. Schedule your appointment for the late afternoon or evening to ensure to take full advantage of the effects of your treatment.

Before or After Your Period

Concerns about increased menstrual bleeding have prompted some women to stay away from acupuncture during their periods. The authors of a paper published in Zhen Ci Yan Jiu don't believe that it's necessary to avoid acupuncture during menstruation as long as acupuncturists use appropriate needle manipulations and avoid strong stimulation. If you've experienced heavy flow during a treatment in the past, or are concerned about a possible problem, it may be best to schedule your appointment before or after your period.

Sources:

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine: How to Take Care of Yourself After Acupuncture Treatment

https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2016/08/29/how-take-care-yourself-after-acupuncture-treatment

Health CMI: Acupuncture Outperforms Drugs for Infertility, Promotes Pregnancy, 2/7/17

http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1716-acupuncture-outperforms-drugs-for-infertility-promotes-pregnancy

The Guardian: Rats Help Scientists Get Closer to Solving the Mystery of Acupuncture, 7,21/15

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/21/rats-help-scientists-get-closer-to-solving-the-mystery-of-acupuncture

Pub Med: Zhen Ci Yan Jiu: Considerations About Acupuncture Treatment During Menstruation, 4/16

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27323450

Georgetown University: Protein Linked to Stress Reduced by Acupuncture in Rats, 12/20/11

https://www.georgetown.edu/news/acupuncture-stress-reduction-study.html