Basic Information on What to Wear to Acupuncture

You’re excited for your first session with your acupuncturist, but as you prepare, you’re asking questions like, “What do I wear to acupuncture?”

Don’t fret, attire choices aren’t anything to stress about before your appointment — we’ve got you covered with our top tips on what to wear and what not to wear

Keep reading to learn our top tips on what to wear to acupuncture and why it actually matters. 

Table of Contents

what to wear to acupuncture

What Should You Wear to Get Acupuncture?

Since acupuncture involves strategically placing needles on different points of your body to relieve pain, overcome injuries, and more, it is highly suggested that patients wear loose-fitting clothing to appointments.

Clothing – Of Any Type – Isn’t a Barrier to Acupuncture Treatment: You Have Options

Although loose-fitting clothing is ideal, what you wear to your acupuncture appointment isn’t something to be highly concerned about.  There are several workarounds  acupuncturists can use when it comes to “getting the job done right.” 

Work Around Your Clothes

Don’t have time to change clothes on your way out the door to make your acupuncture appointment? 

Don’t stress, most clothing can be pushed up or to the side to give your acupuncturist access to the areas they need to treat.

Remove Your Clothes

If clients are comfortable removing their clothes and being in their undergarments, it may be preferred over tight clothing that is hard to work around. 

Your acupuncturist will have towels, sheets, robes, etc., readily available to be draped over and around you during your appointment.

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of removing any clothing, don’t be afraid to talk with your acupuncturist about your feelings. They’ll happily do what they can to find a workaround that makes you both feel comfortable. 

what to wear to acupuncture appointment

General Recommendation for What to Wear to Acupuncture: Loose-Fitting Clothing

If your clothing is too tight to roll up or down to uncover areas we need, it can decrease the quality of your session. Since the most common areas for acupuncture points are those on the …

  • Lower legs
  • Lower arms
  • Back; and
  • Abdomen

… consider wearing clothing that can be rolled, lifted, and folded as necessary to reach the appropriate treatment areas. Loose-fitting clothing, like basketball shorts, or scrubs, are ideal for acupuncture. 

If you’re coming from work, or an event, where your attire may not feel appropriate for acupuncture, consider bringing a change of clothing. 

Occasionally, you may be asked to remove your footwear during treatment — because of this, we recommend wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and off. 

At Cascade Spine and Injury Center our chiropractors care about your comfort during your chiropractic treatment. 

Whether you prefer to wear loose fitting clothes or don’t have time to change after work, our chiropractors will find a way to provide you with the best care and experience. 

what to wear to acupuncture

5 Types of Clothing That Might Create Minor Restrictions for Acupuncture Treatment

#1: Tight Pants

If possible, avoid wearing tight pants to your acupuncture appointment. We generally suggest wearing shorts or loose-fitting pants to your appointment. 

You may find that tight pants, even if it’s a tight waistband, take away from your experience during your acupuncture appointment. 

No time to run and change before your appointment? We can help keep things discreet by covering up with sheets and towels — don’t feel as though you have to reschedule your appointment due to a wardrobe issue.

#2: Long, Tight Sleeves

As we mentioned earlier regarding tight pants, long, tight sleeves also take away from your experience at your acupuncture appointment. 

Loose-fitting tank tops, short sleeve shirts, or long sleeves that can be rolled above the elbow and comfortably lifted above your torso, are ideal for what to wear to acupuncture. 

Plus, is anyone really comfortable lying down in a tight, form fitting shirt? We don’t think so. 

#3: Sports Bras

During your acupuncture appointment, unfastening your bra, or lowering the straps, may be necessary to access certain acupuncture points. 

We do ask that you avoid wearing sports bras to your appointment. Since sports bras are not easily maneuvered, they can make it difficult to access areas of your back or upper chest. 

#4: High-Collared Shirts

High-collared shirts and turtlenecks are items we recommend you avoid wearing to your acupuncture appointment. 

If any needles need to be placed in the area where your shoulders meet your neck, like our acupuncturists may need to do when treating whiplash and neck pain, a high-collared top will be difficult to maneuver — and keep it out of the way of the treatment area.

#5: Accessories

When considering what to wear to acupuncture, consider removing the accessories you would normally wear. We find that most clients are so used to wearing their accessories daily, that they are thrown off when we ask them to remove a piece of jewelry. 

Some of the most common accessories that may cause a minor issue during acupuncture include the following. 


Although earrings rarely get in the way of your actual treatment, wearing them during a treatment where you are required to put your head to the side, or into a chair, for any period of time, can become uncomfortable and even painful. 


Trigger finger is just one of the many examples of ailments that are treated through acupuncture between the fingers. 

Wearing tight rings during your treatment, which may end up rubbing against your skin, may leave you feeling far from relaxed for the duration of your treatment. 

Watches and Bracelets

Your acupuncturist will need easy access to your wrists for both pulse measurements and treatment points.

Watches, bracelets, or any other accessories that get in the way or put pressure on your wrists are not ideal to wear during an acupuncture appointment.

what to wear acupuncture

The Most Important Factor When Deciding What to Wear to Acupuncture Treatment: Your Comfort

Although we’ve made numerous suggestions about what not to wear to acupuncture treatment, we want to emphasize that our top priority is you — and that also means prioritizing your comfort. 

When preparing for your acupuncture treatment, and deciding what to wear, consider the following: 

  • Will you be comfortable disrobing during your appointment? If so, great! Come as you are!
  • If you don’t feel comfortable disrobing, is your clothing loose enough for your acupuncturist to access the appropriate areas?
  • Is the clothing you are wearing comfortable enough to wear during the entirety of your treatment?

Aside from knowing what to wear to acupuncture, or what not to wear, we also recommend that you style your hair in a way that:

  • Isn’t uncomfortable while lying down; and
  • Won’t fall into the oils used during treatment 

Why Is Comfort So Important During an Acupuncture Session?

Aside from treating, and helping to heal, any ailments you may be visiting the acupuncturist for — acupuncture is often an excellent way to get comfortable and relaxed. 

If your mind is too focused on how tight your waistband is or how “embarrassed” you might be for not having considered the sports bra you have on after your gym session, you won’t be able to focus on the healing effects of your acupuncture session. 

In fact, being stressed during your acupuncture session, especially over something as simple as your clothes, may interrupt the natural effects of acupuncture on the central nervous system — to turn off your sympathetic response, and activate your parasympathetic nervous system

what do you wear to acupuncture

Cascade Spine & Injury Center: Your Trusted Acupuncture Providers in Portland, OR

At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, our team uses acupuncture for three main reasons: 

  1. To reduce pain
  2. To release tight muscles; and
  3. To speed up the body’s natural healing process 

Our priority is helping you heal. 

We don’t care what you wear, come as you are, and we’ll adjust as necessary to ensure you’re getting the best possible treatment. 

Whether you’re in jeans and a t-shirt, or your gym shorts and tank top, we’ll provide you with the care that you need to get back to good health. 

Our licensed acupuncturist, Michelle Waneka, is committed to providing dependable, result-oriented pain relief with individualized, comprehensive acupuncture treatment plans designed to meet your needs. 

For more information about our personalized approach for caring for your injuries and ailments through acupuncture, contact our Portland, OR, office today.

what to wear to acupuncture

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