Acupuncture is a type of therapy that can be used as a complement to modern medical treatment. It’s a traditional Chinese medical approach and has been around for over 2,500 years.

The focus of acupuncture is to stimulate the flow of energy in your body along specific pathways, remove blockages, and improve your overall health.

How does acupuncture work? Does it hurt to have those needles in your body? Here are the answers to your questions.

Why Get Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of conditions. It’s most commonly used to manage pain since the treatment is thought to improve your body’s natural painkilling response. It can also be used to promote wellness and lower stress.

There are a variety of other conditions that may benefit from acupuncture as well, from respiratory issues to headaches, high blood pressure, and more.

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

When people see needles sticking out of someone’s body, they immediately assume the treatment must be very painful. It’s actually not! 

Acupuncture needles have rounded edges, so they don’t cut the skin the way regular needles do. Many people don’t feel anything during treatment, while others experience small amounts of pain. Often acupuncture professionals describe the pain as being the result of energy activation.

Many patients feel nothing during the insertion.

Once the needle reaches the intended point, there could be an ache or tingling, which is the activation of the nerves at that point. 

If you feel severe or sharp pain, let your acupuncture professional know — if it lasts more than a few seconds, they will remove that needle. Often pain is attributed to areas where there are many energy points or areas where your energy is especially blocked. 

Who to See for Acupuncture

It’s essential that you only visit licensed and experienced acupuncturists. Those with less experience may use more force in inserting needles, which can cause more pain. Speak up and ask for fewer needles, a more shallow insertion, or a slower speed if you need it. If everything is hurting, it could be poor technique, and you should see a different practitioner. 

A good practitioner will be attentive to your needs, notice patterns, and adjust accordingly.

If this is not the case, feel free to see someone else for your next treatment.

Avoid seeing anyone who isn’t a certified acupuncturist. While some other professionals, such as chiropractors, may be allowed to do acupuncture, they likely aren’t the best. Find someone for whom acupuncture is their specialty.

How Long Does Acupuncture Take?

An acupuncture treatment generally lasts 30 to 90 minutes. The needles are kept in for about one-third of your appointment time. You lie very still, and some patients are so relaxed they fall asleep. 

After your appointment, you may feel alert, or you may be drowsy. Relax and avoid strenuous activities while drinking plenty of water. You can use heat packs and may pair acupuncture with massage for enhanced relaxation.

Are you interested in an acupuncture treatment? We’re here to help. Contact us for an appointment today!

Carmen Pomares

Carmen Pomares

Licensed Acupuncturist, MS Chinese Medicine

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