Acupuncture Q&A

Is there anything I should or shouldn’t do before my appointment?

Before your appointment, please:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that will keep you warm and can be easily pulled up to the knees and elbows.
  • Eat a meal several hours or a small snack before your visit. If you haven’t eaten recently, you may feel dizzy during the session.
    • Do not eat a heavy meal right before your appointment.
  • Consider making a list of symptoms or concerns.
  • Do not engage in sexual activity immediately before your appointment.

Try to come to the appointment in a relaxed state of mind to help your body accept the treatment to its fullest.

What should I expect from my acupuncture treatment?

Patients tend to find they:

  • Wake up the morning after with a significant change. For the next day or two, patients notice a gradual to dramatic improvement in their symptoms.
  • A small percent of patients have aggravated symptoms for a day or two and then feel better. Having more pain after your treatment is actually a very good sign that the treatment will be particularly effective.
  • Do not initially notice any change or improvement and may require a series of treatments before noticing any change.

Please note how long the relief lasts and when your symptoms start up again. This pattern is useful for us to plan your visit frequency, as well as to help you gauge your progress over time.

What happens during an appointment?

The first part of any appointment is based on conversation. The patient is asked their medical history and to describe the symptoms they have been experiencing to get a feel for his or her overall health.

After the consultation, the sterilized disposable needles are inserted under the skin into specific acupuncture points on the body, depending on the patient’s condition. Usually 6-15 needles are used per treatment, each placed in a specific location in order to optimize energy flow. After 20-30 minutes, the needles are removed. Most patients find the process very relaxing and many fall asleep during treatment.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Some mild tingling can result. It should never be painful.

Many people anticipate it will feel like a surgical injection needle. Acupuncture uses far smaller needles compared to the larger, hollow injection needles.

Many patients find acupuncture painless and soothing. Some even fall asleep during treatment. We strive to minimize any discomfort through our gentle and painless technique. Please let your acupuncturist know if you have any concerns.

How deep do the needles go?

Needles may be inserted from 1/4 inch to one inch below the skin’s surface, depending on the location of the acupuncture point on the body and the condition being treated. The depth also depends on the patient’s size, age, and constitution.

Is acupuncture hygienic?

Yes, acupuncture is completely hygienic. Only sterilized, disposable needles are used.

Is there anything I should do after the acupuncture treatment?

  • Take time to rest the evening after your treatment.
  • Avoid alcohol or eating in excess for 24 hours.
  • Try to avoid adding stress: do not work longer hours, work out harder than normal, or stay up late.

You may feel a lot of energy during the days after your treatment and may sleep very well. Your body needs this energy to continue healing and get the best results for your treatment.

How does acupuncture work–and how many treatments does it take?

Acupuncture is a process. It is very rare for a problem to be resolved with one treatment–virtually every patient requires a course of treatments, rather than a single treatment in order to get what they want from acupuncture.

On your first visit, we will suggest a treatment schedule, depending on the condition being treated. Acupuncture treatments can last from one week to several months, or longer. As your condition improves, treatments become less frequent. While some illnesses remain incurable, acupuncture can go a long way toward alleviating discomfort. We recommend continuing acupuncture to maintain an optimal level of health and wellness.

Can acupuncture be used as preventative medicine?

Yes, research shows acupuncture stimulates the immune system, which can increase your resistance to bacterial and viral infection. Acupuncture increases overall energy and vitality, and helps the body respond to injury and stress. Regular treatments can help you maintain good health and a sense of well-being.