What to Wear to Acupuncture


If you’ve never had acupuncture treatment before, you may not know how to dress appropriately! While there may be specific areas of your body in need of targeting for pain and/or tension, it’s good to prepare for every eventuality.

At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we recommend that you dress as comfortably as possible. That might mean wearing loose tops and pants or even taking off some jewelry. Ultimately, it’s important that you feel as comfortable and as relaxed as possible so you’re prepared for your first session.

Here is a little more insight into what to wear to acupuncture from session to session.

Loose clothing is ideal

During your acupuncture session, your specialist will need to access your limbs as well as your torso. Therefore, make sure to wear clothes that you can easily roll up or fold back easily. You may also need to lift up tops or lower waistbands.

You may even wish to wear shorts and sports tops if you are undergoing soft tissue mobilization or seeking treatment for a sports injury. Ultimately, you’ll need to wear clothing that your acupuncturist will ask you to adjust at short notice.

Optimize comfort

When attending acupuncture, it’s important to get comfortable. These sessions will be all about relieving pain and ensuring that you’re as relaxed as possible. It’s normal to feel some tension about needling if it’s your first session!

If you’ve never had acupuncture before, it’s all the more reason to ensure you’re feeling relaxed. You may also wish to wear cologne or perfume, which helps you feel more at ease. Crucially, your attire needs to support your sense of comfort and allow the acupuncturist to access your body easily.

Avoid sports bras

Where possible, you may need to loosen or unclasp your bra so that your acupuncturist can access certain areas of your body during a session. For this reason, you should avoid wearing sports bras you can’t unhook or loosen.

Sports bras will support you during activity, but they’re a form of tight clothing that can also deter you from feeling comfortable during a therapy session.

Remove accessories

By accessories, we refer to rings, necklaces, ear studs and earrings, bracelets, and watches. Accessories may interrupt the acupuncture process by blocking access to certain areas of your body, for example.

With rings on your fingers, you may prevent your acupuncturist from accessing your hands where needed. What’s more, ring rubbing can feel very tight or cause irritation. Again, it’s vital to keep as relaxed as you can through the process, so be sure to remove anything likely to provide an unwanted stimulus.

Earrings are unlikely to impede treatment, but you may need to lean or lie to one side during your treatments. If this is the case, earrings or studs are unlikely to be comfortable to rest against. For example, you may need to lay on your side for some stiff neck and shoulder treatments. It’s best to prepare ahead of time regardless of what’s in store.

Avoid high collars

While technically not loose clothing at all, many people still attend acupuncture sessions wearing high-collared shirts as they feel comfortable doing so. Unfortunately, they are going to prevent your acupuncturist from being able to access your neck, shoulders, and other areas of your upper torso.

The same applies to turtlenecks or sweaters. Some conditions, such as whiplash, may need your practitioner to access your neck directly. It’s best to wear a loose-collared top that’s easy to maneuver during the needling.

The same applies to tight or buttoned wrists. While not only uncomfortable for most people, they’re not ideal for ease of access during acupuncture.

Tie back your hair

If you have long hair, you’ll need to tie it back when entering an acupuncture session. Long hair can impede on needling both on your front and back, so it’s always wise to keep it out of the way.

Hair that doesn’t touch your shoulders is unlikely to cause problems, but use your judgment. If you typically tie your hair back for work or exercise, you’ll need to do the same when getting acupuncture.

Change from work or the gym

It’s good practice to change completely if you’re heading from the office or a session at the gym. Not only is it a matter of good hygiene, but work clothing can also be prohibitively restrictive. So too, as discussed, is some gym and sports clothing (such as sports bras).

A good rule to follow is to dress in clothing you’d be comfortable wearing in your lounge or bedroom. You don’t have to wear pajamas, but this is the level of comfort and ease of movement you should aim for.

If you have an alternative pair of sweatpants, shorts, or loose t-shirts, set some aside from your gym gear as your designated acupuncture clothing!

Allow for ease of footwear removal

It’s wise to wear shoes that you can easily remove in case your acupuncturist wishes to access your feet and ankles. For example, if you’re receiving therapy for foot pain, it stands to reason that you will need to slip your footwear off at short notice.

Depending on the weather, you may wish to wear sandals or slip-on shoes. Avoid footwear that requires lacing or even velcro – shoes that you can easily release within seconds will be perfect.

Wear clothing you’re happy in

We don’t want to dictate the style or types of clothes you should wear at any time! But, when attending acupuncture, it makes practical sense to wear items from your wardrobe that won’t get in the way of physical therapy. If you’re worried, your acupuncturist will advise you further on your first visit – but dress accordingly for a strength test or two!
Want to get started with acupuncture (and have the wardrobe to fit a session or two)? Book your first consultation with Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture today. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know about needling and how you can make the most of your sessions with us.

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