Are you new to acupuncture treatment? Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicinal technique where thin, hollow needles are inserted into the top layer of skin. In Eastern medicine, it is believed that acupuncture helps to restore the flow of energy throughout the body, known as qi. In Western medicine that is more scientifically based, it is understood that the needles create small microtraumas in the skin that stimulate the body’s natural healing process.
While acupuncture has been proven to relieve pain and relax your muscles, it is still best to take it easy the same day or the day after your acupuncture treatment. Here’s what to avoid after acupuncture.
You don’t have to avoid exercise altogether, but it would probably be best to slow down a bit. If you’re used to a long, intense cardio workout like running or spinning, consider slowing down and taking a walk. If you’re used to lifting heavy weights, try some lighter weights and a few less reps. You may find that sweating can irritate the skin where the needles were inserted, so get your exercise in a way that’s a little less sweat-inducing.
It may be difficult to forgo your usual cup of coffee in the morning or afternoon, but it would be in your best interest to do so after acupuncture. Caffeine causes your body to become dehydrated, which can taper the positive effects of the acupuncture. The flow of energy in your body greatly depends on hydration to keep moving. And water helps to flush out the toxins that are released from your body when acupuncture opens up the channels. Caffeine can also heighten your senses and mask the positive effects of the acupuncture on your body.
Similarly, alcohol should be avoided after acupuncture. Alcohol has similar dehydrating effects on the body as caffeine. It can also impair your senses and mask the positive effects of the acupuncture. And while your body is eliminating toxins, it is best not to introduce new toxins, like alcohol that may counteract the process.
You may be tempted to reach for comfort foods after an acupuncture treatment or hit the drive-thru on your way home, but try to resist the urge. It is best to eat healthy foods after acupuncture to promote the elimination of toxins from your body. Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants (kale, blueberries) and those that promote healing (curcumin, sweet potatoes).
Your natural response to pain may be to apply ice. However, following acupuncture, heat is the recommended therapy. Instead try a heating pad in the areas where you received acupuncture needles. Warmth keeps the bodily fluids flowing, whereas ice can block up the works. The main goal of acupuncture is to open up any blocked energy pathways that are causing pain in order to relieve it. Therefore ice is counterproductive to the whole process.
TV and Other Screens
Your usual evening routine to help you wind down may include lounging on the couch and watching your favorite TV show or scrolling through social media on your phone or tablet. But if you can resist the urge to use screens after acupuncture, it allows you to enjoy the relaxing benefits for much longer. The problem with screens is that the flashing images and bright lights can be irritating to your eyes and make you feel on edge rather than relaxed. Screens can also keep you from falling asleep and prevent you from getting adequate sleep because the light of the screen can interfere with your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s natural sense of day and night. Instead read a book, listen to soothing music, or do something else you enjoy.
Acupuncture and Cupping at Matawan Physical Therapy
Acupuncture has many benefits, and when combined with cupping, it can be even more beneficial. Cupping is a technique that acts as a sort of reverse massage. Instead of applying pressure to the skin, the cups actually pull the skin outward to relax tight muscles. Now that you know what to avoid after acupuncture and cupping, you can realize the benefits on a deeper level and for a longer period of time.
Matawan Physical Therapy provides both acupuncture and cupping treatment. If you’re interested in trying this beneficial therapy, call (732) 970-7894 today to schedule an appointment or contact us. We look forward to helping you relieve pain and stress with acupuncture.