11 Tips: Get the Most from Acupuncture & Massage. ~ Michael Hetherington

Via Michael Hetheringtonon Oct 31, 2013

Massage

There are a number of things we can all do to enhance the benefits and quicken the results from treatments such as acupuncture or massage.

And here they are:

1. Don’t eat a huge meal before treatment—but also don’t go in starving.

If you receive a treatment when the belly is trying to process a large meal it can be uncomfortable when lying on the table. During digestion, the body will keep a lot of your energy in your belly area and therefore a treatment can be impaired due to the belly’s reluctance to let the energy flow elsewhere.

Also, don’t go to your appointment starving as your blood sugar levels might crash and leave you feeling very light headed after the treatment. It is best to have a small meal or small bowl of food at least 30mins before treatments.

 

2. Don’t take pain killers before the treatment.

I once had a lady come to get acupuncture from me, but, afraid of the tiny needles, she downed a load of pain killers before the treatment. Firstly, the insertion of acupuncture is usually not as painful as the mind would have you believe; in truth, it’s no more then the feeling of a mosquito bite. Secondly, with acupuncture, if you can feel and sense qi moving in your body, the more powerful the treatment will be.

If you block out all the ability to feel qi by dropping pain killers, the treatment is less effective and the patient probably won’t be able to sense any subtle changes afterwards. Thirdly, pain killers add toxins to your system and irritate the liver.

 

3. Show up 5-10mins early to your treatment.

There will be paperwork to fill in before your treatment, so allow time for this. Rocking up late often causes more stress and anxiety to you, the patient, and can add stress to the practitioner because they have to now juggle the time change. It can also mean your treatment won’t be as long and therefore as deep, and it may put the next patient out because your treatment went overtime.

Please show up a few minutes early to your appointment to give yourself the best chance of getting the best results.

 

4. Don’t eat processed sugars soon after treatment.

At one clinic I worked at, the receptionist had a little bowl full of jelly beans for the patients in the waiting room (like in the old school doctors’ clinics). This infuriated me because I would often see my patients gobbling down a few jelly beans after I had been working my butt off for the last hour or so trying to get their bodies back to a more balanced, “switched on” state. Processed sugars send a stress signal through some of the meridians as soon as they touch the tongue and put the body into a “switched off” state. Soon after any treatment the body and energetics are in a venerable and fragile state, so taking in any processed sugar will affect the system quickly and dramatically. Therefore, avoid processed sugars for a few hours after any treatment. Fruit is a much better option.

 

5. Don’t drink alcohol after the treatment or for the rest of the day.

For similar reasons as made in the previous point. The body is in a fragile and venerable state after a treatment and putting in a toxic substance such as alcohol can quickly affect the body and energetics and potentially undo a lot of the work carried out on that person. Instead, drink plenty of water and hit the sack a little earlier then usual that night so the body can have a good chance to recover.

 

6. A little nap, sleep or savasana (resting yoga pose) after treatment helps the benefits to integrate.

During acupuncture and massage, the body gets a massive energetic and chemical shakeup. The best way I have found to really let everything settle into its new pattern, its new arrangement, is to have a little nap or sleep soon after treatment. The opposite of this would be to go straight back to work and pump yourself full of coffee to try to shake off the desire to have a nap.

 

7. The best time to receive a treatment is in the late afternoon or early evening.

In the afternoons, the energy of the day winds down as it prepares for night time. Therefore, if you get a treatment in the late afternoon it will feel very natural as you leave feeling relaxed and a little sleepy so you can go home and chill out. If you get a treatment in the morning, it often feels like you have to push through feelings of sleepiness in order to get on with your day.

 

8. During treatments, close down the eyes and watch the sensations running throughout your body.

If we can add our mind to the sensations that are being experienced in the body, it adds more qi and energy to them, therefore enhancing the treatment. “Where the mind goes, energy flows.” This is also a practice similar to meditation which will also help slow down the breath, again enhancing the treatment.

9. Breathe.

Breathing enhances results because, when you move the breath, you move energy throughout your system. If you hold your breath, energy stops flowing. The best thing you can do when you are faced with any intense sensation during a treatment is to breathe through it. It helps if you can imagine that with every exhalation you are releasing any stagnant or unhealthy energy out of your body.

10. Drink warm water or warm herbal tea as soon as you get up from the treatment table.

The body tends to use up a lot of water during treatment to assist in the healing process and, often, you can get up from the table feeling very thirsty. Drinking warm water or tea as soon as you get up allows the body to absorb the liquid quickly and efficiently, bringing it back into an ideal state. If we guzzle down ice-cold water it can cause the body some stress as it has to work hard to heat the water up before it can absorb it. If the clinic doesn’t have warm water, room temperature water is the next best thing.

11. Be gentle with yourself and don’t expect miracles from one treatment.

Miracles can happen, there is no doubt about this, but, in most cases, repetitive treatments are necessary. The body takes time to re-adjust itself to new patterns and new ways of being. Generally speaking, the longer the condition has been present, the longer it will take to adjust. For maximum results with acupuncture, usually around 6-10 treatments are required. Healing takes time, but, with enhanced bodily awareness and an open mind, improvements in one’s condition are often sped up dramatically.

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 Ed: Bryonie Wise

 Photo: lintmachine

 

About Michael Hetherington

Michael Hetherington (L.Ac) is an acupuncturist, yoga teacher and author from Australia. He specializes in pain management, meditation for beginners, drug addiction recovery and drinking cups of tea. He has recently completed the book “How to Do Restorative Yoga” which is now available on Amazon. Inspired by the teachings of many he has learned that a lighthearted and nurturing approach to life serves best. He can currently be found in South East Asia or online.

 

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2 Responses to “11 Tips: Get the Most from Acupuncture & Massage. ~ Michael Hetherington”

  1. sabine says:

    Great tips! I should print this and leave it for my clients to read over – it's amazing how many people expect a quick fix without taking any responsibility for their own healing. Many thanks,

  2. Earth Spa says:

    Some great tips! I agree with the above comment. A quick fix is not always going to happen. There are so many factors involved. As the great saying "every little helps" is true!

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