Acupuncture is quickly becoming one the most common and useful forms of alternative medicine to treat ailments like arthritis, nausea, headaches, and lower back pain. In fact, around 30 million people in the Unites States have tried acupuncture, and many more Americans have indicated they would consider trying it. If you have an ailment that needs almost constant care, or if traditional treatments have not alleviated your pain and discomfort, then you may have made an appointment with an acupuncturist yourself to seek assistance. You will want to make the most of your appointment, so make sure that you do the following three things to make sure you do.

Eat a Light Meal

If you have an acupuncture appointment scheduled, then you may decide to eat a relatively large meal to keep yourself comfortably full during the hour long appointment. However, when you do this, a great deal of energy is expended and blood flow surges to the stomach to digest food and to transport nutrients throughout the body where they are most needed. In fact, digestion requires more work and energy from your body than exercising, circulating blood, or thinking. Since acupuncture works with the natural blood flow and energy levels of your body, you may be impeding the treatment by forcing energy to focus on the digestion of food.

However, you do not want to skip a meal either, because this can cause blood sugar levels to drop significantly. If you are already nervous about the treatment, then this may make you feel faint. Instead, eat a small meal comprised of easily digestible foods. Some good food options include whole fruits, steamed vegetables, eggs, rice, and chicken. Eat the meal about an hour before your appointment to allow the digestion process to begin and to also allow your blood sugar to rise and remain consistent throughout the acupuncture treatment.

Skip the Pain Killer

When you think of acupuncture, you probably imagine a number of small needles placed in your skin. This image may be correct, but the thoughts of pain and soreness that accompany the images are not. Acupuncture needles are typically long with shafts two to three inches tall, but they are also quite thin with thicknesses between one-tenth and one-third of a millimeter. The needles are secured shallowly too, depending on the part of the body being treated. Many areas of the body will involve insertion of the needle one-quarter of an inch. For thick, fatty, and muscular regions, depths may reach around one or two inches. Many people indicate feeling only slight pressure, regardless of needle depth, though.

This means that you should skip taking any pain killers before your acupuncture appointment. Not only are they not necessary, but many NSAID pain relievers can cause an upset stomach and this may make the appointment uncomfortable.

Drink Water

Acupuncture is meant to help encourage healing and promote the flow of energy through the stimulation of pressure points. When the body heals, a great deal of water is needed. The blood needs water to bring the minerals, nutrients, and oxygen to the tissues that need them, because the blood is made up mostly of water. Communication between the different nerve cells of the body and the brain require water as well, and fluids are required to carry away the various byproducts that are created as the tissues of the body are rebuilt.

This means that it is in your best interest to make sure you are well hydrated both before and after the acupuncture treatment to ensure that optimal healing can occur. Drink at least one full 8 ounce glass of water around 30 minutes before the acupuncture appointment and drink one immediately afterwards as well.

Click here to read more about acupuncture.