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Acupuncture: Frequently Asked Questions

Apr 15, 2021
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Acupuncture is performed with hair-thin needles. Most patients do not experience discomfort or pain. When the acupuncture needles are inserted, it is common to feel a slight pinch, mild sting or achy sensation.

by Grace Im, O.M.D.

What Issues Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture helps to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, and boost the immune system, and much more. Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems.

Click here to learn more about benefits of acupuncture.

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like? Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Acupuncture treatments are not painful.

Acupuncture is performed with hair-thin needles. Most patients do not experience discomfort or pain. When the acupuncture needles are inserted, it is common to feel a slight pinch, mild sting or achy sensation. If any discomfort is experienced, it is usually mild and temporary. Some people are more prone to sensation, therefore we adjust our technique and needles according to each person’s varying sensitivity. Most patients describe acupuncture treatment experience as deeply relaxing.

Is Acupuncture Safe? Are There Any Side Effects?

One of the greatest advantages of acupuncture is that is a very safe practice with very few side effects. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy. Most common post-treatment complaints are minor and short-lived, including a temporary bruise or achy sensation experienced at the site of an insertion. All acupuncture needles are sterile, individually packaged, and disposable. Additionally, acupuncturists undergo extensive training in prevention and management of any adverse effects of needling. 

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy.

In fact, it can even help to alleviate many discomforts commonly associated with pregnancy. In addition, acupuncture can be used to help promote efficient labor. Many patients have used acupuncture to help postpartum care and aid in fertility treatments. 

Acupuncture

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How Should I Prepare For My Acupuncture Appointment?

Make sure you are not coming to the treatment on completely empty stomach. The best way to prepare is to eat a snack or a light meal about an hour (or longer) prior to the treatment. Wear loose comfortable clothes so that your arms and legs are accessible for treatment. Depending on the condition being treated, clothing may need to be removed to reach important acupuncture points. It is important to avoid stress and make time to relax during the treatment. After treatment we recommend you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and refrain from overexertion on the same day. 

How Many Treatments Do I Need?

This depends on a number of factors including the severity and duration of the problem and your body’s general health status. The number of treatments will vary from person to person. There is no absolute way to predict the number of treatments you will need to start feeling better.

Some patients have results in a few treatments, while others need long-term acupuncture care. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones.

Plan on a minimum of 5-6 visits before you start to see improvements and changes. 

How Often Should I Be Treated?

The frequency of treatments depends on your medical condition. Typically, treatment occurs once or twice a week. Many conditions respond faster to frequent acupuncture treatments.

Biweekly treatments are recommended for the first couple of weeks. Once your condition is stabilized, the frequency decreases. Many patients prefer to return to the office periodically for maintenance sessions. 

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