Acupuncture can technically be done anywhere at any time, given there's a Licensed Acupuncturist around and he or she has needles available. When you book an appointment ahead of time, though, you have plenty of time to prepare so that you can get the most out of your treatment.
First of all, wear loose, comfortable clothing. This will give the acupuncturist better access to more acupuncture points and will help you relax. Most of the points we use are below the elbows and knees, so having clothes that can easily roll up is key. If you have a specific problem area (i.e. shoulder pain), it's also a good idea to wear something that can be rolled to uncover the area in case the acupuncturist wants to add local points, or points right in the spot that's bothering you. All that being said, if you're coming straight from work and forgot to bring a change clothes, you can still definitely benefit from a treatment. The acupuncturist will choose points to use based on what can be accessed - there are many, many different points to choose from to help your condition! - and will help you get as comfortable as possible so that you can enjoy your treatment.
Second, eat something light in the hour before your treatment, ESPECIALLY if you're diabetic. Acupuncture puts the body into a parasympathetic - or "rest and digest" - state, which means your blood sugar will naturally drop a little. In most cases, this drop is completely unnoticeable, but if you're very hungry you may feel light-headed after the treatment. Having a little snack will prevent this, and will also help you to relax during your treatment. It's hard to really let go when you're stomach is rumbling!
Third, stay hydrated. Every cell in your body needs water to function, so getting at least 64 ounces of water each day is very important. If you're drinking less than that, picture your poor cells trying to move through sludge to go about their work. (Wouldn't you rather have them happily gliding?) Anyway, acupuncture kick starts circulation in the body, and if you're dehydrated, there's much less to circulate. Just like you might feel sore after a deep-tissue massage, you also might feel sore after an acupuncture treatment if you're not consuming enough water to flush out what the body wants to release. Drink plenty of water the day of your treatment - not too much right before or you'll be thinking of the bathroom the whole time you're supposed to be relaxing! - and the days following.
Last of all, fill out your paperwork ahead of time if you're a new patient. This will not only save you time but will also decrease your stress as you won't be rushed to get through it all at the clinic. The whole goal of your treatment is to give you a break from stress while the needles do their work, so you might as well start your experience with as little stress as possible too.
Kathleen Ellerie is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the owner of Beachside Community Acupuncture. She loves providing affordable acupuncture to the residents of Addison, Dallas, and Farmers Branch, Texas, and educating the general public on how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat everything from pain to infertility to stress and beyond. Click "Book Now" at the top of this page to book an appointment or feel free to contact her at (214) 417-2260.