1 What is an Acupuncture?

Acupunture is a procedure that involves the insertion of very tiny needles into your skin at specific points on your body.


A key part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is commonly used to treat pain.

Traditional Chineses medicine explains acupuncture as a technique of balancing the flow of energy or the life force known as qi or chi believed to flow through pathways or meridians in your body.

By inserting needles into specific points on these meridians, acupunture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.

However, many western practioners of acupunture view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tisue.

Some individuals believe that this stimulation boots your body's natural pain killers and increases blood flow.

2 Reasons for Procedure

The main reason for acupuncture procedure is relieving discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions like:

3 Potential Risks

The potential risks of acupuncture are fairly low if you have a competent, certified acupuncture practitioner.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Soreness
  • Organ injury if the needles are pushed too deep particularly in the lung
  • Infections

Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterilized disposable needles. A reused needle can expose you to diseases such as hepatitis.

Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture, conditions that may increase your risks of complications include:

  • Bleeding disorders, which increases the chances of bleeding of bruising from the needles
  • Acupuncture that requires applying mild pulses to the needles can interfere with a pacemaker's operation
  • Some kinds of acupuncture are thought to stimulate labour, which can lead to premature delivery

4 Preparing for your Procedure

There is no special preparation required before an acupuncture procedure.

If you are considering acupuncture, the following can help you choose the best doctor to do the procedure:

  • ask for recommendations from people you trust
  • check the practitioner's training and credentials
  • interview the practitioner
  • ask what is involved in the treatment
  • how likely it is to help your condition
  • how much it is likely to cost

You can also find out whether your insurance covers the treatment.

You can tell your doctor if you are considering acupuncture. He or she may then be able to reveal to you the success rate of using this procedure for the treatment of your condition or recommend an acupuncture practitioner.

5 What to Expect

Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your acupuncture procedure.

Every individual performing acupuncture has a unique style, often blending aspects of Eastern and Western approaches to medicine.

To determine the type of acupuncture treatment that will help you the most, your practitioner may ask you about your symptoms, behaviors, and lifestyle.

He or she may also closely examine

  • The parts of your body that are painful
  • The shape, coating, and color of your tongue
  • The color of your face
  • The strength, rhythm, and quality of the pulse in your wrist

This initial evaluation may take up to 60 minutes. Subsequent appointments usually take about a half-hour.

A common treatment plan for a single complaint would typically involve one or two treatments a week. A number of treatments will depend on the condition being treated and its severity, but six to eight treatments are common.

During acupuncture, Acupuncture points are situated in all areas of the body. Sometimes the appropriate points are far removed from the area of your pain. Your acupuncture practitioner will tell you the general site of the planned treatment and if you need to remove any clothing. If appropriate, a gown, towel or sheet will be provided to preserve your modesty.

You lie on a padded table for the treatment, which involves:

Needle insertion

Acupuncture needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes little discomfort. Between five and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. You may feel a mild aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth.

Needle manipulation

Your practitioner may gently move or twirl the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles.

Needle removal

In most cases, the needles remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no discomfort when the needles are removed.

After acupuncture

Some people feel relaxed and others feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. But not everyone responds to acupuncture. If your symptoms don't begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not be right for you.

6 Procedure Results

The results of an acupuncture procedure benefits can be difficult to measure, due a lot of individuals find it helpful as a way of controlling a variety of painful conditions.

Several studies have shown that some forms of simulated acupuncture appear to work just as well as real acupuncture.

Ther is also proof that it works best in individuals who expect it to worrk.

Since acupuncture has a small number of side effects, it may be worth a try if you are having trouble controlling pain with more-conventional methods.

7 Related Clinical Trials