Can You Exercise After Acupuncture?

Breeze Academy May 14, 2023
Runner on starting blocks

It’s important to appropriately take care of yourself after Acupuncture in order to maximise and maintain the benefits. Some of the key recommendations here are to rest, relax and get a good night’s sleep. But, if you’re an exercise enthusiast, you might be wondering where your workout fits into this. Find out with the experts at Breeze Academy.

So, can you exercise after Acupuncture? It is recommended to avoid strenuous exercise after Acupuncture as excessive sweat and unclean environments pose an infection risk at the points of needle entry. Some experts also argue that strenuous activity may also undo the benefits of Acupuncture.

Read on to learn more about the relationship between Acupuncture and exercise with the experts at Breeze Academy.

Can You Workout After Acupuncture?

Many experts advise that patients avoid strenuous exercise after Acupuncture as it may be an infection or irritation risk. Although acupuncture needle point punctures are incredibly small, they are susceptible to infection and irritation after treatment. As such, excessive sweating and unnecessary exposure to bacteria-infested places should be avoided where possible. 

Further to this, some argue that Acupuncture may undo the benefits of treatment, especially if the goal was to reduce stress, anxiety, chronic pain or migraines. This is because Acupuncture typically:

  • Promotes dopamine production.
  • Increases blood pressure.
  • Increases heart rate.
  • Induces sweating.
  • Boosts adrenaline.

These are all counter-productive to a calming and relaxing Acupuncture session.

However, this is all based on strenuous activity after Acupuncture. There is no evidence to suggest that more gentle forms of exercise have any negative effects on Acupuncture results. Moreover, some experts believe that patients should be fine to exercise to their regular ability level after exercise without experiencing negative side effects. 

In fact, many elite athletes use Acupuncture as a form of therapy after workouts or competitions. For those that aren’t elite athletes, however, it is thought that gentle exercises such as walking or yoga may be appropriate exercise after treatment. 

Exercises to Avoid After Acupuncture

Although some experts recommend exercising to regular ability levels after treatment, there are a few types of exercises that should be avoided across the board to reduce the chance of infection:

  • Swimming.
  • Weight lifting.
  • HIIT.
  • Cycling.
  • Running.

Exercises to Try After Acupuncture

Considered gentle exercises, these should be fine to perform after Acupuncture treatment:

  • Gentle yoga.
  • Walking.
  • Stretching.

How Long Should You Wait to Exercise After Acupuncture?

It’s best to avoid vigorous activity for around 3 days after Acupuncture treatment. This gives the needle puncture times to heal. It will also help to maximise and maintain the benefits of Acupuncture.

That being said, Acupuncture practitioners should be able to advise on a case by case basis, considering individual health, fitness and stamina. 

Can You Exercise Before Acupuncture?

Some industry professionals have seen results from light exercise before Acupuncture treatment. They claim that exercise increases blood flow which enhances the effects of Acupuncture. Further to this, Acupuncture may benefit the body after exercise, helping to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Other Thing to Avoid After Acupuncture Treatment

After Acupuncture there is a range of food, drink and activities that should be avoided to maximise and maintain the benefits of treatment. It’s a good idea to avoid unhealthy, processed, fried foods and refined sugar, as well as caffeine and alcohol. This is important for 3 reasons:

  1. Hydration is essential after Acupuncture.

  2. Alcohol and caffeine releases toxins into the system which is counterproductive.

  3. Alcohol and caffeine may reduce or heighten the senses which is counterproductive to the benefits of Acupuncture.

Other things to avoid after treatment include:

  • TV and other digital screens - this will help to elongate the relaxing benefits of treatment and can promote better sleep.
  • Extreme cold - keeping warm helps to keep bodily fluids flowing, allowing oxygen and essential nutrients to reach any areas that need them for healing. 

What You Should Do After Acupuncture

After treatment, it is recommended that patients eat healthily to promote the elimination of toxins from the body and to maximise healing. Choose foods rich in antioxidants and those with known healing powers. These include:

  • Berries such as blueberries, blackberries and cranberries. 
  • Turmeric.
  • Artichoke.
  • Pecans.
  • Kale.
  • Spinach.
  • Ginger. 
  • Green Tea.

As well as eating well, patients should also prioritise rest after treatment for similar reasons as avoiding exercise. Learn more about what you should and shouldn’t do after Acupuncture in our recent blog.

Final Thoughts

There are a number of negative effects associated with Acupuncture and exercise. However some experts agree that it is highly dependent on the patient’s individual health status, stamina and fitness levels prior to starting treatment. Some patients will be able to handle more exercise than others after Acupuncture. 

That being said, it seems to be the consensus that strenuous exercise should be avoided after treatment as excessive sweating and places like gyms pose an infection risk. 

We recommend that patients consult with their Acupuncture practitioner before undertaking exercise after acupuncture as they will be able to advise on a case by case basis using individual health data. 

If you’re a healthcare professional interested in learning more about Acupuncture, take a look at our nationwide foundation-level courses today. We provide you with all the knowledge and skills needed to safely and confidently practise Acupuncture.

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