massage before or after acupuncture

Should You Get A Massage Before Or After an Acupuncture Treatment?


Many people in the wellness industry are asking the question growing in popularity, “Is it better to get a massage before or after your acupuncture treatment?” We did the research and consulted experts in the field and this is what we found.

Massages are a more popular option in the United States, as over 63.6 million US adults get massages annually. Acupuncture treatments, although not as popular, are trending upwards: up to 10 million acupuncture treatments are administered annually in the United States alone.  

Although many people are concerned with which treatment to receive first, the correct combination of massage and acupuncture treatments will make anyone feel as good as new both mentally, physically, and spiritually.

So does the order of treatments matter? We discuss the thinking on this below.

massage before or after acupuncture

So Why Are Massages More Popular Than Acupuncture? 


To understand why massages are more popular than acupuncture, it is important to understand some fundamental differences between the treatments. Acupuncture is known as one of the worlds oldest healing practices. It is a method of relieving pain and other ailments by penetrating one’s skin with thin needles at specific acupuncture points.

Although massages also have significant benefits, they are not considered a medical procedure like acupuncture. Therapeutic massage pertains to the manual kneading and manipulation of connective tissue and muscle. The kneading of various tissues directly benefits ligaments, joints, skin, tendons, and other organs throughout the body. Instead of needles, massage therapists typically will use their hands, fingers, and other mechanical aids to conduct the massage.  

Many people have asked us which treatment is more effective for their specific ailment. Why not consider using both? However, if you are going to get both forms of treatment, it is important to do it correctly to maximize their effectiveness.

Benefits of Massage

There are several reported benefits of massage therapy. The most prominent benefit found was significant stress reduction. Sure, going for a “spa” day is a great way to unwind in a relaxing environment and get away from the small day to day stressors of everyday life. However, it is interesting that clients of various massage treatments reported feeling at ease for days, and sometimes even weeks after their appointments! Research shows that deep massage can activate the vagus nerve, which helps to regulate the heartbeat and induce deep relaxation.

massage before or after acupuncture

Other benefits of massage therapy include: 

  •  Improved Circulation 
  • Reduced Pain in Inflamed Areas  
  • Elimination of Toxins
  • Improved Flexibility 
  • Improved Sleep 
  • Reduced Fatigue 
  • Reduced Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety  

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture treatments are known to produce many of the same benefits as massages therapy treatments but are often more targeted to specific injuries or ailments. Reduction in stress is a known benefit of acupuncture treatments and is one of the most common reasons people seek acupuncture treatments here at Mindful Medicine Rochester. Acupuncture is known to reduce stress and anxiety symptoms through a re balancing of the nervous system. In addition to stress and anxiety reduction, acupuncture offers significant pain relief benefits such as reduced back pain, neck tension, and relief of joint pain – for example in the knees and shoulders. Another significant benefit of acupuncture treatments is that they are drug free and have minimal or no side effects! 

massage before or after acupuncture

Other benefits of acupuncture include: 

  • Relief from headaches 
  • Enhanced Immunity
  • Improvement in Depression
  • Improved Sleep
  • Improved Mental Clarity and Increased Energy  
  • Relief from Digestive Conditions  
  • Allergy Relief  
  • Reduced Cravings for Nicotine and Alcohol 

Massage Vs. Acupuncture 

 Which is Better?    


Now that we have discussed the similar benefits of both acupuncture and Massage therapy, which one is the better option? It comes down to your individual preferences. As always, before making any treatment decisions, you should always consult your individual health care provider.  

Both treatment options offer very similar benefits, so the decision will likely come down to the reasoning for seeking treatment in the first place. If you are simply feeling the effects of tight muscles throughout your body, you may want to get a therapeutic massage.

If you are experiencing pain in specific parts of your body such as back pain, neck tension, or specific joints, acupuncture may be the better option as it offers a more focused approach to pain points.  

However, like previously mentioned, whether you get a massage before or after acupuncture really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you listen to your body and make a decision based off of how you feel and which works better for your routine and preferences.  

How To Pick Whether To Get Your Massage Before or After An Acupuncture Treatment  


The decision about whether to get acupuncture before or after your massages directly comes down to your preferences.  Think about how you typically feel after getting a massage. If you are usually sore following therapeutic massages, it may be best to get your acupuncture treatment done first. If you typically feel relaxed and at ease following a massage, then that may be a great time to receive an acupuncture treatment. 

Lifestyle also plays a factor in the decision. Do you wake up and workout or play a sport in the morning? A massage may be beneficial before your acupuncture appointment to help relax the body.  Alternatively, if you wake up already feeling at ease from being well rested, it may be a good idea to receive acupuncture treatment and a massage later in the day to calm back down.  

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer. The decision on which treatment to receive first will come down to each individual’s reason for needing the treatment, preferences, and lifestyle. The research shows that there is no strict correlation between the benefit of getting a massage before or after an acupuncture treatment and the results of the treatments.  

How To Optimize Your Next Treatment 


When going for any kind of treatment, it is important to optimize your conditions to get the best results possible. Before receiving either a therapeutic massage or acupuncture treatment, it is essential to relax the mind.   If you decide that it would be beneficial for you to get a massage before your next Mindful Medicine Acupuncture appointment, you can book a massage appointment before coming in. At Mindful Medicine Rochester we have a list of trusted massage therapists and would be happy to connect you with one of them. If you simply need to make a Mindful Medicine appointment, you can contact us using this form.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is acupuncture becoming more popular?  

Acupuncture is growing in popularity in the United States in recent years. The number of patients who have received acupuncture treatments has been trending upward since 2002 and it is likely to continue going forward.    

How many people in the US use acupuncture?   

About 10 million adults receive acupuncture treatments yearly in the United States.

What is the demand for acupuncture?  

About 10 million adults receive acupuncture treatments yearly in the United States. Worldwide, this number is significantly higher because acupuncture originates from eastern regions.

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