I once had a patient come to me for muscle and back pain with referring sciatica down one of his legs. I treated him quite a few times, working on removing the blockages in his meridians and relaxing the tightness in his muscles that I diagnosed to be the cause of his pain. However for some reason, we couldn't get very far with his treatments. He would feel great afterwards, but by the next day the pain was back. So you can imagine my frustration when he let it slip one day...
that he was going to the gym right after every single one of our treatments, not thinking anything of it. Of course! I felt so frustrated with myself. I should have asked what he was doing right after our treatments. I wrongly assumed that since he was in so much pain and it was quite late at night, that he would be going home and relaxing afterwards. That couldn't be further from the truth, and boy was that a learning experience for me! The heavy exercise he was undertaking immediately after receiving Acupuncture was undoing all of the loosening and unblocking I was trying to do with the needles! Which brings me to my first point:
Now I'm not saying you can't exercise at all the day you get Acupuncture, light gentle exercise is great and can be very beneficial. Try a calm yoga class or go for a long walk instead of a 5 mile jog and weightlifting.
AVOID ALCOHOL AND COFFEE
The point of this is to allow your body to stay in its natural healing state for as long as possible. Alcohol and caffeine mess with the body's nervous system and create a lack of mental clarity. After an Acupuncture treatment, it's important to notice the subtle changes that are taking place. How are you feeling? Did any new emotions arise? To you feel warmer than usual? More sluggish? What is your pain level? Energy level? These are important things to note to gauge the effectiveness of the treatment. Mind altering substances (like caffeine and alcohol) have the potential of masking or even nullifying the effects of the treatment. It's also important to stay hydrated, and we all know how alcohol and coffee can dehydrate you. Flushing out any toxins that have been released into your system is a crucial step in treatment.
Although you should ideally be eating healthy all of the time, right after an Acupuncture treatment is an ideal time to try out that new healthy recipe you've had your eye on. Your body is in a state of healing, and it's important to give yourself the necessary building blocks to further extend the benefits of your treatment. Most likely your Acupuncturist even gave you some food tips to help with your particular condition. And if not, just use this checklist: try to avoid food that is heavily greasy, spicy, overly processed, cold, or raw.
And most importantly: Envoy the lovely, blissful feeling of a wonderful Acupuncture treatment.