What to wear for acupuncture?

One of the most frequently asked questions from a first time acupuncture patient is what to wear for an acupuncture treatment. This blog is dedicated to answering that question. 

No matter if you are heading to a private clinic or community acupuncture, the general rule of thumb is to wear loose fitting clothing, which is easy to roll up to your elbows and knees. You might need to remove your socks and shoes. (Hint: clean socks, please.)

You might wonder how an acupuncturist would treat your lower back pain if he/she can’t poke needles into your lower back. The acupuncture points needed to treat your situation might not locate at where the ailment is. Most likely your acupuncturists can find a substitution. 

If your acupuncturist believes he/she needs access to an area which is covered by clothing, he/she will definitely communicate with you for future sessions. You will be better prepared for the next session. 

wear loose fitting clothing to acupucnture

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers. 

  • Do I need to undress?

If you are heading to a community acupuncture practice, there are most likely other patients in the same space. Thus, you don’t need to undress. You just need to roll up your sleeves to your elbows and pants to your knees. Most likely, you might need to remove your socks and shoes to allow access to acupuncture points in your feet. 

If you are heading to a private practice, the clothing situation will most likely be one of the three following scenarios.

  1. It is possible your clinic prepares gowns for you. Think of your typical physical exam. You are under the cover of a clinic gown with your own underwear. 
  2. Your practitioner works around what you are currently wearing. Your practitioner will communicate with you on where they need to access in the future session. You can adjust accordingly.
  3. It would be an initial session with checking your pulse and asking questions. The practitioner will share information about what to wear in the future.
  • Should I bring my own clothing? 

If you feel more comfortable in your own clothing, you might consider bringing loose fitting clothing. So you can wear your everyday clothes outside the clinic. 

If needed, you might consider bringing a short to give your acupuncturist more access to your legs. 

Also, a lot of clinics have heat lamps for treatment. If you need an extra blanket to keep yourself warm, you might want to bring one with you to make yourself comfortable. A lot of clinics would have extra blankets. Thus, this tip is for people who prefer to use their own.  

Bring shorts or blanket if needed
  • How about jewelry and watches?

You can definitely wear jewelry and watches as you like. As most acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners diagnose through pulse. They will put their fingers on both of your wrists. 

If you are wearing a bracelet or a watch, there is a possibility they would need you to remove it for checking pulse. 

  • Can I wear makeup?

Not all acupuncture sessions would put needles on your face. If it is needed, your practitioner would most likely clean a small area where the needles are inserted. 

  • Can I wear perfume?

If you are heading to community acupuncture, some clinics would suggest their patients avoid strong perfume. Since you will be in an open space with a few other patients, it would be thoughtful to take others into consideration.    

  • Can I wear leggings or tight skinny jeans? 

The general rule of thumb is to allow at least exposure to your knees. Unless your tights or leggings allows you to do so, consider wearing something else. Or simply bring another pair of loose pants or shorts with you. 

Avoid tight jeans or leggings


To conclude, wear loose fitting cloth to your first acupuncture treatment. It is most likely you would need more than one treatment to be completely healed, so your acupuncturist would definitely let you know if you need to adjust what you wear to allow more access to certain points. 

Sit back, relax, let acupuncture do its magic!


enjoy acupuncture with loose fitting clothing