What Should You Avoid After Acupuncture?

With origins in Ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture is now practised all over the world and has gained massive popularity over the last 100 years. 

If you think acupuncture doesn’t have something to offer you, I invite you to reconsider.

What Should You Avoid After Acupuncture?

It is believed to be beneficial for practically any medical condition, from fibromyalgia to carpal tunnel syndrome, and is particularly helpful for maintaining good health overall.

But knowing what you should avoid after acupuncture treatment ensures that you actually feel its benefits.

In our article below, I’ll break down what you should avoid after acupuncture, what you should avoid before acupuncture, and provide tips on what you can do following the treatment to make it more effective. Let’s get started!

What To Avoid After Acupuncture

There are a range of activities you should avoid for a short time following acupuncture treatment. 

Some of these suggestions are not only related to boosting the benefits of acupuncture, but also to ensure your safety.  


Many of us turn to acupuncture to relax, so the last thing you need following an acupuncture appointment is to return to a stressful situation. 

Of course, stress can be hard to avoid, but ways you can minimize stress following an acupuncture appointment is to book your appointment for a time when you don’t need to return to work.

This gives you time to do more relaxing things following an acupuncture appointment such as listening to music or reading a book.

Cold Temperatures

Following an acupuncture appointment, you need to keep warm in order to keep things flowing and to open up energy channels that are blocked. Try to avoid cold temperatures if you can, and resist using ice for pain relief. 

Digital Screens

TV and other screens prevent your body from relaxing and winding down. Letting your body rest and relax will extend the benefits of acupuncture, as well as encourage good sleep.

The night following your acupuncture appointment, instead of watching TV or spending time on screens, read a physical book rather than a Kindle, listen to some music or a podcast to unwind.

Driving If Light-Headed

It’s common for people to feel light-headed after they’ve had acupuncture, and if you experience this, take some time to rest and maybe have a glass of water before you leave in your car.

If you would rather not risk the chance of feeling light-headed, ask if a family member or friend can take you to and from the appointment.

What To Do Following Acupuncture Treatment

Now that you know what to avoid after acupuncture treatment, let’s have a look at what you can do to boost its benefits.

The best things you can do following acupuncture treatment:

  • Eat well and drink lots of water.
  • Stay warm and use heat for pain relief if you need it.
  • Rest.
  • Relax and only do light exercise.

What Food To Avoid After Acupuncture

As well as avoiding particular activities, certain food and drink can have a big impact on the outcome of your treatment. 

To encourage the benefits of acupuncture, avoid overly processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, fast food, and refined sugars. 

What Food To Eat After Acupuncture 

Eating healthy, non-processed food packed with antioxidants and vitamins can boost the possible benefits of acupuncture.

These foods and drinks include artichoke, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cranberries, ginger, green tea, herbs like basil, oregano and thyme, kale, kidney beans, pecans, peppers, spinach, tomato and turmeric. 

What Should You Avoid After Acupuncture?

Should You Eat Before Or After Acupuncture?

It is recommended to eat around two hours before your acupuncture appointment. However, try to eat a light meal as a heavy meal may cause discomfort during your appointment. 

It’s also recommended that you avoid overly processed, unhealthy foods before your appointment, and it’s a good idea to avoid coffee too, as this can activate your adrenaline. 

You should also never attend an acupuncture appointment on empty-stomach, as this can lead to you feeling dangerously light-headed. 

If you do feel light-headed after your session – even if you’ve eaten beforehand – ask if you can stay in the clinic’s waiting room for a while, or arrange a lift so you can avoid driving.

Should You Rest Following Acupuncture?

While you don’t have to sleep for days or confine yourself to your bed, you should take it easy for a couple of days following acupuncture treatment in order to boost the treatment’s benefits. 

Plus, resting and taking care of yourself is a great way to restore your emotional and physical wellbeing. 

What Not To Do Before Acupuncture

Eat Fried/Spicy Foods

I’ve already discussed how crucial it is to be mindful of what you eat before your acupuncture session.

You should never attend an appointment on an empty stomach, but it’s also important to avoid big meals, fried foods, and spices before your appointment, as these can cause discomfort and bloating. 

It will be hard for you to properly relax during your appointment, and this may diminish the benefits of acupuncture. 

Drink Coffee

Coffee is a neurological stimulant, and in order to remain relaxed throughout your appointment, it’s important to resist the urge to drink coffee.

Since acupuncture helps you get out of a flight or fight state, coffee (that tends to raise your adrenaline levels), can prevent the full effects of acupuncture from occurring.

Avoid drinking coffee two hours before your appointment to feel the full effects of your acupuncture session.

Drink Alcohol

You should also avoid drinking alcohol before your acupuncture appointment. This is because alcohol dehydrates you and decreases your blood volume.

Alcohol can change the flow of qi (a flow of energy created in the channels that connect to acupuncture points on the body), which can prevent healing. 

Tense Up

If you’re having acupuncture in order to unwind, then the more relaxed you are during the appointment, the more you’re going to get out of it.

If you can, relax as much as you can ahead of the appointment, and take the day to unwind and focus on self-care.

But, of course, lives are busy and unpredictable, so if a day of relaxation isn’t possible, try to dedicate 15 minutes ahead of your appointment to relax and connect with your body.

Withhold Medical Information

It’s good to make the acupuncture practitioner aware of any medical history that is relevant, as well as any conditions you have currently.

If you’re feeling anxious ahead of your appointment, it may help ease your worries to open up about your medical history so your practitioner can provide reassurance. 

While this may not seem necessary, as acupuncture is a holistic treatment that focuses on your body and well-being, it can also give your practitioner a greater insight on your health to tailor your treatments to your needs.

Final Thoughts

If it’s your first time receiving acupuncture treatment, it’s understandable to feel a bit nervous, but trust me, you won’t regret having acupuncture! It can be a totally relaxing experience with great health benefits.

If you’re interested in giving acupuncture a try, I hope my article has given you some tips on how to make the treatment more effective.

Take some to research specialists in your area and chat with them before your first appointment so they can put you at ease and answer any questions you may have.

Who knows? Acupuncture may be the perfect way for you to unwind and maintain good health!

Clare McAfee
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