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Why do you need to eat before having acupuncture?

A:  We recommend that people have eaten before treatment because our experience is that treating people who have not eaten increases the chances of feeling a little faint or dizzy after treatment. A light meaL or snack, preferably more than an hour before the session, is usually adequate. On the other hand we do not like people either to have had a heavy meal immediately before treatment or go straight from the couch to a restaurant where they eat their way through the menu. Again our experience is that  when people do this is can make them feel a little nauseous and in some cases undermine what we are trying to achieve. We are also very concerned about the intake of alcohol before or immediately after a session, a rule which many extend to the use of excessive amounts of caffeine.

There is no formal research to underpin these recommendations, and they are only recommendations; people are free to ignore our advice. However we are legally required not to treat people who have been drinking to the extent that they cannot be presumed to be competent.

These recommendations have been a part of the training institutions' programmes for as long as this 'expert' can remember, and it is interesting to note that they are very much borne out in practice. Where people have ignored our advice they have become faint or felt slightly ill.

We are not likely to conduct any research to check this recommendation, but we suspect that most complementary therapies have the same advice in place.

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