Frequently Asked Questions
What do the acupuncture needles feel like? Do they hurt?
Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel. The point is smooth and insertion through the skin is not painful like injection or blood sampling. People experience acupuncture needles differently. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt.
What are the risks of acupuncture? Is it uncomfortable?
With the use of sterile, disposable needles ensures that there is no risk of disease transmission. The most common complication of treatment is a small bruise or a drop of blood when the needle is removed. Any medical technique involves some risk. Properly performed, acupuncture presents minimal hazard when compared to drug regimens of surgical techniques.
Are there any side effects?
It is quite common with the first couple of treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. There pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treaments needed differs from person to person. For complet or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary.
Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
A positive attitude towards wellness may reinforce the effects of the treatment received, just as a negative attitude may hinder the effects of acupuncture or any other treatment. A neutral attitude will not block the treatment results.
Which conditions can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture can be helpful in a variety of chronic or periodic painful conditions in men, women and children. These include low back pain, neuralgia, headaches, premenstrual and peri-menopausal syndromes, and the pain resulting from arthritis and rheumatism.
How should I prepare for treatment sessions?
The best general advice is to come in a calm state. Try to arrive ten or fifteen minutes before your appointment to allow yourself a chance to relax. You should not have recently eaten a large meal, nor should you be fasting for more than 6 hours before your appointment. The use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs is also not recommended prior to or just following a treatment. Comfortable loose clothing should be worn, and if possible, you should not wear any metallic jewelry, watches, or earrings. Makeup and nail polish should be minimized or eliminated.
What happens during the treatment?
Depending on the areas to be treated, you may be positioned on your back, your stomach, your side, or sitting. Be certain that you can remain relaxed in this position, as you may not wish to move for the duration of the treatment, usually 15-20 minutes.
It is best to practice a slow and relaxed abdominal breathing during treatment, and to avoid trying to do any mental work. Abdominal breathing means allowing your abdomen to expand as you inhale, and to contract as you exhale.
What sensations will I experience during treatment?
Usually, there is a pleasant state of calm, which develops during the treatment and may persist for some time. You may even fall nearly asleep during the session. In areas that have been treated a sensation of heaviness or swelling may persist for up to an hour or so after treatment.
You may find that the pain or discomfort of the condition may be reduced by 20% or 30% or even completely eliminated. Frequently, the relief will persist, though in some situations the pain will return after a few hours or days to its former level. In certain conditions, a worsening of pain is to be expected before improvement is seen.
What should I do after treatment?
It is often helpful to sit quietly following a treatment, and relax. A gentle walk or very mild exercise can also be helpful. Large meals, vigorrous exercise, alcohol or excessive aggravation should be avoided.