FAQs about Acupuncture
How many treatments will I need?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. The number and frequency of treatments will vary from person to person depending on the conditions being treated, your age, your health, and how you respond to acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a natural medicine that assists your own body to make changes by awakening Qi and the body’s natural painkillers. Consulting with an experienced acupuncturist about your condition and the pain you’re experiencing will offer the best guidance for the length and frequency of treatment.
Acute problems usually require less frequent treatment. For example, an acute sprain may require only a handful of treatments, whereas more chronic ailments may require several, or even several dozen, treatments.
How long will it take for the treatments to work?
A positive response to acupuncture treatments is generally seen after the first to fourth treatment. If you are being treated for a menstrual problem or infertility, give the treatments three menstrual cycles for your body to respond. Appointments can be scheduled further and further apart after you have achieved optimal response.
How often should I be treated?
This depends on what you are being treated for and your practitioner. It is common for treatments to be scheduled one or two times a week in the beginning to obtain an optimal response and then once every other week after that. If you are not able to schedule appointments that frequently, your acupuncturist may prescribe herbs, dietary changes, exercises or pressure points for you to use at home.
Acupuncture is also often used as a preventative medicine. Many people see their acupuncturist two to four times a year for a “tune-up” or “balancing” treatment. This can prevent disease and promote health, energy, and vitality.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture needles are 25 to 50 times thinner than a hypodermic needle. In fact, they are so thin that several acupuncture needles can go into the middle of a hypodermic needle.
While some people feel nothing at all, others experience a brief moment of discomfort as the needle penetrates the skin that can be followed by a mild sensation of cramping, tingling, numbness, traveling warmth, or heaviness. The needles are left in place for twenty to forty minutes. Most people find the experience extremely relaxing and uplifting and even fall asleep for the duration of the treatment.
It is important to let your acupuncturist know immediately if you feel any discomfort. If you are sensitive to acupuncture or ‘needle-phobic’, let the doctor. know. We want the practitioner to know exactly how you are feeling.
How deep do acupuncture needles go?
Acupuncture points are located on or near the surface of the skin. Needles are usually inserted 1/4″ in depth. Depth of insertion will depend on nature of the condition being treated, the patient’s size, age, and constitution.
Are acupuncture needles ever inserted deeper that one inch?
Yes. For instance, there is a great acupuncture point for sciatica that is located on the buttocks. The needle is usually inserted three to four inches.
What are the risks associated with acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a very safe method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve function. Acupuncture rarely causes any serious side effects.
Some people may feel a brief stinging sensation, similar to a pinprick, during insertion of the needles. Some may experience a dull ache around the needle after insertion. Again, we emphasize that you communicate any discomfort with the practitioner. Your comfort is a priority.