Acupuncturist Questions Acupressure

Does acupuncture require other medicines to be effective?

Should one seek medicinal support for acupuncture to work and be effective?

35 Answers

We use herbs and vitamins to balance the system
Acupuncture works alone and does not require any other medicinal support. Many times acupuncturists are also herbalists and will prescribe traditional Chinese herbal medicine to work with the acupuncture treatments, but it is not necessary to take herbal formulas for acupuncture to be successful.
Sometimes supplements or lifestyle change are required.
Without knowing your situation this is a bit difficult to answer. But, TCM treats many conditions successfully using just acupuncture and herbal prescriptions. Find a practitioner with an OM/herbal background and you can look here to find someone in your area:
No it works great by itself
Acupuncture is effective in-and-of itself. One needle into the body causes a system reaction if you have an immune system. A licensed acupuncturist who has attended a school for Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture has been educated in human anatomy and internal medicine and is experienced in how and where to put needles to create a very effective medical treatment. For example, a specialty acupuncture used to treat eye diseases can be up to 85% effective without any other intervention, including herbs, supplements, drops, etc. For local pain such as muscle tightness, acupuncture is extremely effective without any topical creams, anti-inflammatories or analgesics. It is shown however, that when treating internal disorders such as digestive, hormonal, infections or bowel issues, acupuncture and herbal Chinese medicine are very effective together and are more likely to assist in resolving internal issues faster together, than they are separate. A licensed acupuncturist who is also educated in Chinese herbal medicine can provide a comprehensive treatment plan for you.
Hi. No, acupuncture can work by itself
I love this question, as it demonstrates the versatility of acupuncture whether used alone or with other medicines.

Acupuncture as a stand alone therapy has been shown to be effective while eliminating the risk of potential side effects from pharmaceutical medications.

When used with pharmaceutical medications, acupuncture can improve the effectiveness of drugs, help minimize/eliminate drug reactions and in many cases reduce the need for medications.

Adding Chinese herbal medicine to acupuncture can enhance effectiveness, as both focus treatment on a person’s patterns of disharmony.
Acupuncture is effective with needle manipulation alone, or even acupressure on the acupuncture points. Some diseases respond much better to or in conjunction with other methods of treatment like herbal supplementation. If the medicinal support you are referring to is mainstream medicine's prescription medicine, then by all means definitely follow your primary care's advice and ask to support it with alternative medicine so that you can be weened from prescription medicines safely.

Live happy,

Yes, of course. However, please consult with your doctor and decide after diagnosis.
That all depends on your issue. If you are a cancer patient, or if you suffer from highly infectious diseases I would recommend you go to an MD in addition to your acupuncturist for help. If it is a broken bone, torn ligament or any other major trauma issue, I would suggest surgery, or some other outside modality to assist. If your condition is psychologically based and major, again, you should seek multiple modalities.

If, however, your condition is not a major medical problem i.e. pain problem, sleep problem, menstrual problem, cold/flu, skin condition, stress related issue, digestive disorder, respiratory, etc. Then acupuncture alone can help you balance yourself out. (if you are on medications already, you need to let your MD know that you are getting treatments so they can adjust medications as your body changes. For some major medical issues, such as asthma, you should always carry an emergency inhaler or other medication in cases of emergency even if the acupuncture treatments are helping you stabilize.

You need to converse with your practitioner who should be able to guide you to the limits of their scope - beyond that, you should seek outside help.

Of course, your health involves your choice in health, so if you yourself want more or less outside assistance, you can choose to do so. Those listed in the first paragraph, however, should pursue multiple practices.
It depends on what conditions. Most conditions can be helped just using acupuncture.
Traditional Asian (Chinese) medicine as an ancient science and art is poised to be brought to a greater height for its ultimate mission of benefiting human health. However, the specific type of illness you are suffering from would help determine whether acupuncture (or other traditional modalities) alone or used in conjunction with contemporary modalities would be more appropriate. This must be assessed by an Integrative Medicine practitioner, such as the Diplomate of Oriental Medicine.
Regarding your question, acupuncture does not need other medicine to be effective. But, acupuncture works well with Western medicine (co-management).
Acupuncturists cannot tell you what type of medication you should take or not take. It is not part of our scope of practice. However, we may suggest that you talk with your primary physician if you have any concerns. Acupuncture is a safe procedure and it can be used with any medications. There is no interaction because we are not injecting any chemicals and
there are no side effects. We see a lot of pain management cases: Patients usually are prescribed many medications before seeking acupuncture. One of the benefits of acupuncture is to reduce pain medication dosages, with the informed consent of the patient's physician. It is our goal to help the patient to completely stop their prescribed medication and this is a sign of healing.

Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
Not at all. Acupuncture is effective by itself.
It does not. Often, pain medications and other drugs can retard the healing process because they impede certain communications from the brain that help to heal. However, there are many Chinese Medicine Herbal formulas that have been successful for thousands of years to improve many complaints. These formulas are based on whole plants, not patented chemical isolates. The process promotes healing and balance instead of blocking natural pathways. These formulas are studied by most trained acupuncturists and are based on the same diagnosis as the acupuncture process. Drugs are often initially taken to reduce discomfort, then Chinese medicine can help improve the complaint and help reduce the drug intake and side effects. 

James F. Jones
No, it doesn’t. As a matter of the fact, you can do acupuncture even if you are on your medication for your condition. After some time, your doctor usually will bring down your dosage. But you do not need anything for acupuncture to be affective.

Dr. Maryam Mansouri, Lac. OMD.
No, acupuncture does not depend on medications. But, one should discuss their medications with all providers and not stop or start meds on their own generally.

No. You do not have take medicines for acupuncture to work. Acupuncture is effective by itself.


Scott Sang In Lee
No. Acupuncture points are more effective if you are trying to correct certain health issues. But, please don't stop your current medications without consulting with your doctor. Acupuncture treatments are only effective for certain ailments. Don't only rely on acupuncture treatments. Also Always consult with your doctor before you start taking any medicinal herbs. Thanks
Acupuncture does not require other medicines in order to be effective.

Many blessings,

Caitria Thiele, LAc MSOM
Not really. Acupuncture works effectively alone on many medical conditions. Also, acupuncture does not work against any other therapies. If combined nicely/wisely with other treatments, patients will get the most benefits.
Acupuncture is a wholistic medicine. Therefore, it does not require any other medicine to be effective. However, herbal medicine is used as a complementary medicine by acupuncture practitioners to speed up the process of healing. Depending on the condition treated, sometimes it is also desirable to seek the support of Western medicines such as laboratory testing, and expert medical advise. In some cases, a combination of Western medicine and acupuncture is very beneficial.
The long and short answer is NO. Acupuncture is effective in its own right for correcting many problems. If, however, you are already taking other prescribed medications, there is usually no contraindication to taking them while receiving acupuncture. Consult with a Licensed Acupuncturist for further information about your condition and prognosis to be fully informed.
No, acupuncture has been used as the sole medical treatment for thousands of years and billions of people. Its approach to the human body is based on energy, not mechanics, and it's about balancing and then letting the body heal itself, not trying to overpower its mechanisms. So actually, the fewer medicines you are taking, the easier it is to get results with acupuncture.
No, not always, especially in conditions involving pain. However, for chronic diseases, digestive disorders and even conditions such as migraines, it's been my experience that the addition of herbs or supplement can speed things along and may be necessary.

For example, if you're having migraines due to anemia, it would be very difficult to stop them without addressing the underlying nutritional deficiency.

While herbs and acupuncture will nearly always help, it’s difficult to make progress when treatments are spaced too far apart or are scheduled randomly. Taking getting treated regularly and taking herbs as prescribed and following prescribed food therapy recommendations will help significantly and are especially important when regular acupuncture sessions cannot be performed.

Standard Acupuncture Treatment Plan –
1. Ideal: 3x per week for 1-4 weeks. In many cases this resolve the issue. For cases of chronic conditions treatment is usually continued and sometimes the visits are spaced out further (depending on how much improvement is seen)

2. Almost ideal: Herbs and acupuncture 2x per week for 2-10 weeks then begin spacing them out to weekly then bi-monthly and so-forth.

3. Acceptable: Herbs and weekly appointments for 4-12+ weeks then begin spacing them out to bi-monthly and so-forth.

4. Guarded: Visits scheduled more than one week apart. Herbs and supplements will be very important.

The simple answer is "no" other medicines are not required for acupuncture to be effective (especially for pain) but if there are underlying issues, other therapies my be necessary or at least helpful.

If you decide to include herbs/supplements, it is important to take them as prescribed. These formulas are powerful and highly-effected when taken properly. The effects can be boosted with food therapy and acupuncture. These formulas have survived several thousand years of medical advancements because they work. I hope this helps to answer your question and encourages you to try acupuncture.
Sometimes, absolutely. Sometimes, not at all. It really depends. We don't treat cancer on our own, for instance... I don't need you to see a doctor for me to treat your headaches/migraines... unless I need to refer you out to get a CT scan of your brain, for instance. Most acupuncturists are trained to identify when they need to send you to a doctor for allopathic testing/intervention.

If you decide to try acupuncture, make sure you start with a fully trained acupuncturist (not an MD or Chiropractor that did minimal hours of training to get a license).
Acupuncture is a mechanic stimulation in the sensory nerves to trigger chemical reactions in the brain to modulate the body functions. It does not require any medication to be effective. It has practiced over 2500 years far earlier than the synthetic drugs invested.
Absolutely NOT! Pharmaceutical drugs and acupuncture are not normally used in conjunction with one another. Acupuncture works quite well on its own. There is also the option of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which incorporates the use of Chinese herbs in the treatment program but usage of medications is not part of how I treat my patients.
Both acupuncture and western medicine are complete medicines of their own and do not require the other to be effective, but they can work together and support one another. I always recommend my patients keep both their doctors and myself aware of all treatments they are receiving. The more verbal you are, the better your medical team can work together in your healing.
Absolutely not. This is a western and "modern" belief, that medicine is necessary to overcome illness. Acupuncture works to improve circulation of blood and energy in the body, thereby improving the function of organs themselves. The body is incredibly resilient and, once circulation has improved, it will begin to heal itself. Given the right food, exercise and appropriate treatments (acupuncture, massage, spinal adjustments, vitamins and minerals, etc.), the body itself can accomplish much more than we give it credit for nowadays.
Hi there,

By that, if you mean combine with western medication, it depends on the situation. Some western medication can be taken in conjunction with herbal medicines, but you have to consult with both your doctor and your acupuncturist. But acupuncture can stand alone with herbal medicines without the need of western medicines. It all depends on different cases.
Good question. The answer is: it depends. Most of the time, acupuncture can be a very effective treatment on its own. In some cases, acupuncture makes a better adjunct or additive to more conventional pharmaceutical treatments. For things like pain management, some digestive issues and allergies acupuncture is usually sufficient on its own. For issues like cancer, Parkinson's, and MS, acupuncture is best used as an integrative therapy to more conventional pharmaceuticals/chemotherapy. In some cases like hypertension or acid reflux, a patient should start with pharmaceuticals in order to get their situation under control, but acupuncture can, in some folks, restore homeostasis to the body system such that the drug can be slowly withdrawn. The beauty of acupuncture is: the needles are solid. We aren't adding anything to a patient's system nor are we taking anything away. This makes it extremely unlikely that acupuncture is going to conflict with conventional pharmaceuticals.