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Acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions
Acupuncture FAQ

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture needles are 25-50 times thinner than a hypodermic needle. They are so thin that several acupuncture needles can go into the middle of a hypodermic needle. There is little sensitivity to the insertion of acupuncture needles.

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.

That being said, some conditions will respond better to a thicker gauge acupuncture needle. It is common to experience soreness during and after an acupuncture treatment. It is important to let your acupuncturist know immediately so that they can make you more comfortable. If you are sensitive to acupuncture or 'needle-phobic' your acupuncturist can use thinner needles and be gentler. Be sure to speak up and let the practitioner know how you are feeling!



How deep do acupuncture needles go?

Acupuncture points are located near or on the surface of the skin. Usually needles are inserted from 1/4 to 1 inch in depth. Depth of insertion will depend on the nature of the condition being treated, the patients' size, age, and constitution, and upon the acupuncturists' style or school.



Are acupuncture needles ever inserted deeper than 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.



How many treatments will I need?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary from person to person depending on the conditions being treated, your age and health, and how you respond to acupuncture. Acupuncture is a natural medicine that is assisting your body to make changes. This can be a gradual process.

A consultation with an experienced practitioner about you and your condition will offer the best guide for the length of treatment.

Generally, acute problems require less time and frequency of treatment. For example, an acute sprain may require only one or two treatments, whereas more chronic or severe ailments may require several (or several dozen) treatments.



How long will it take for the treatments to work?

A positive responsive 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. You will schedule your appointments further and further apart after you have achieved optimal response.

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How often should I be treated?

Again, this depends on what you are being treated for and your practitioner. It is common for treatments to be scheduled two to three times a week in the beginning to obtain optimal response and then once every other week. If you are not able to schedule appointments that frequently, your acupuncturist may prescribe Chinese 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 only 2-4 times a year for a "tune up" or "balancing" treatment. This can prevent disease and promote health, energy and vitality.



Is Acupuncture Safe?

In the hands of a comprehensively trained acupuncturist, your safety is assured. Acupuncture needles are sterile and disposable.



What does Acupuncture treat?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture and traditional Oriental medicine’s ability to treat over 43 common disorders including:

(Most of this information is from the National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance)

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