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How many acupuncture sessions does it take to see results?

I am a 27 year old male with headaches. I want to know how many acupuncture sessions does it take to see results?

31 Answers

It varies but 14 is a good number
At your age, it can happen rapidly in my experience. Usually I see results in 2-3 treatments, sometimes 1. Some practitioners report needing up to 10. The mitigating factor is if your spine is out of alignment and pressing on nerves (the cause of headaches sometimes)... acupuncture, by itself, will not fix this and you will need an adjustment or "joint stretching," as we are required to call it in our field under our license practicing Tui-Na (Chinese massage and joint stretching).

Basic rules are: the older and weaker a patient is, the longer results take. This has been true in my experience. Younger patients (including you) have more energy and change/heal faster. But not knowing if you have lots of health problems and tend to be a sicker young person, impossible to even guess with the limited information i have here. Hope that is helpful!
Yes. It depends how severe you are. Is it a frontal, lateral vertex, or backward headache?
If you meet the better knowledge doctor one treatment you my have 80% better

Acupuncture works for headaches and every case is different, so to answer your question of how many sessions it would take is all dependent on your case, but do seek the treatment :)
I try to alleviate headaches in one session.
However, results can vary depending on the type of headache, its location and frequency. Is it a sinus headache, recurring tension headache or migraine?
Headaches need to be differentiated in order to determine your prognosis.
I often recommend 6 visits to determine type of headache and underlying cause.
If you have not recieved benefit by six visits acupuncture may not be for you.
You will see results right away. However, if your condition is chronic, it will take a good amount of treatments to get back to optimal wellness.
There are many causes of headaches; could be from neck, sinuses, or even both, or from high blood pressure and stress. First, you need to identify the cause of the headaches, then use acupuncture or other tcm methods to help. Oftentimes, you can experience the release right after your first visit.
Many people feel changes during the first treatment. This will include feelings of more relaxation, less stress and ability to rest more deeply at night. There should be a change in the headaches even if that change only lasts for a few hours. To have more continuous improvement with the headache it will take a series of treatments. On average it can take about six treatments. Sometimes there are other reasons for the headache such as dietary considerations, stress management or postural considerations. This is something that the practitioner will go over.
It all depends if your condition is recent or it has a long history. A tension headache, for example, can be treated with one treatment, however, a chronic headache might take some time to see some positive results. In all cases, we have to identify the cause of the headache to correctly treat it. Is it caused by food allergies, seasonal allergies, chemical unbalance, work, stress...?

Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.

It depends on what is your cause and how your progress is. Acupuncture treatment is good for headache for sure, but each individual responds differently. Without a diagnosis, it is difficult to say how many treatments you may need.
Hope this answer helps.

Huan Wen Jonathan Fang, lic. ac.

It all depends on how long, how severe, how often, and what reasons and organs are causing the headache. Your acupuncturist will tell you after the first consultation and treatment.
Happy Needles!!!

Scott Sang In Lee
Usually, after the first session, you already feel better. If you want the headache clinical cure, you may still need more than a few sessions.
It often depends on how long you have had the headaches, as well as the underlying cause. For some people, one session starts giving results.
In my experience, every individual responds to acupuncture differently. Some are more sensitive than others and others not so sensitive at all. I have had a patient who is also a physician that had headaches all her life since she was a little girl; she skipped her neuro appointment for her first treatment and had the best 2 weeks of her life free from headaches. I’ve also had some patients build up for relief: first treatment helped relieve headaches for a couple of days then after around 5 treatments relief would last 10-15 days. Generally, the more chronic the condition, the longer it will take for improvement. You should notice the most relief between the 5th and 8th treatments.

Live Happy,

That answer can vary from person to person. A lot of it depends on you and what you do to take care of yourself. Certain foods have shown to cause headaches in those susceptible, such as coffee, chocolate, gluten (which is in everything). Have you been tested for a gluten allergy? It takes real commitment to stick to a gluten-free diet. You may have a postural issue or need to see a chiropractor for an adjustment. Oftentimes, patients have claimed to feel much better after seeing a chiropractor.

Secondarily, if the shoes you are wearing do not have proper support, it could affect your spine and lead to headaches. Are you getting restful and enough sleep? Is your mattress firm enough? Do you need a more supportive pillow? I use a cervical pillow to keep my neck in the proper position and if I go away and do not bring it with me, my neck feels it and I usually get a headache. Stress is a big factor in headaches. Even those who are not aware of feeling stressed can experience headaches. Doing relaxing exercises such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc can be of great help. Including daily stretching in your routine may prove to be the best bet if the aforementioned suggestions are not your thing.

All that being said, there is no set formula to determine how many sessions it would take before you see results. Acupuncture has be known to be effective but along with a patient's willingness to make some lifestyle changes. Diet, proper hydration, exercise, stress reduction, proper (REM) sleep are just a few of the suggestions I would make before you see an acupuncturist. The power to cure them may be entirely in your hands and you may not need acupuncture.Try some or all of these suggestions for two weeks, that just may do the trick!. Good luck.
Thank you for your question,

That is very patient specific question the number of sessions needed. Please speak with your acupuncturist about what they anticipate your plan of care will look like.

Be well,

Dr. B

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How many acupuncture sessions does it take to see results?

I am a 27 year old male with headaches. I want to know how many acupuncture sessions does it take to see results?

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That's a good question. Acupuncture is a clinically effective therapy for headaches. Like physical therapy, acupuncture usually involves a course of treatments over a period of weeks. Factors that will help in determining the most likely number of treatments include but are not limited to the following:
-acute vs chronic
-seasonal influences
-unidentified food sensitivities (think coffee, wine, chocolate, wheat)
-What level of intensity the migraines are rated.

If the patient takes pharmaceuticals -they be contributing factors. It is reasonable to have 1 treatment a week for 3- 4 weeks and then reevaluate.
Best of luck to you.
Depends on why you are having headaches? Any new meds? Any neck or upper back pain? Any past head injuries? If you have had headaches for years it will probably take months of weekly acupuncture, if you had headaches for months, it will take a few sessions.
If you have had headaches for a long time, the time it takes to notice a difference will vary. You may start to feel some difference within 5-7 sessions or so, whether they are subtle or more drastic.
Usually within moments one gets relief from headaches. But determining the under lying cause is a major factor for permanent solution
We usually recommend six sessions first for chronic conditions.
Hello! Depending on your current state of health. Typically 1-5 treatments for acute conditions, and more than 10 treatments for anything conditions that are chronic.
Good question - with a generalist answer respectfully. 6 to 8 sessions as a trial period....some less, some more.
That depends on the style of acupuncture you're receiving, the treatment frequency, and your compliance with your practitioner's treatment protocol (dietary changes, taking herbs, etc.). That being said, if you're not feeling some changes within 5-8 treatments, I recommend looking for another practitioner or trying another style of acupuncture
That is not how Acupuncture works. If you are having headaches, we must find why and design a proper treatment for you. It could be one, six, all depend of your Qi.

Be well, be confident, we can help.
One session is enough sometimes.
No one can answer that question on an individual basis. There can be dramatic changes on the first treatment, there may be slight changes for another person. There may be a change in results that return due to life style choices or there may be dramatic changes that last for a lifetime.

You would need to consult with your practitioner on an ongoing basis to see how you, personally respond to your individual condition.
Hello and thank you for your question! Expected results are based on severity and chronicity of symptoms as well as frequency of treatments. A general rule is that an acute case will typically resolve in 4-6 treatments while a more chronic case should see improvement within 8-12 treatments. However, you should start seeing minor improvements fairly quickly. Again, this varies from person to person, and your acupuncturist will be able to give a general timeline after your first visit.
For most pain conditions acupuncture significantly helps in 1 treatment. This is my experience practicing for over 10 years.
There are a lot of variables that go in to how many sessions any person might need to see results from acupuncture.

In conventional medicine there are only a few different kinds of headache and the treatment for most of them is largely the same - some sort of pain relieving medication.

In Chinese medicine there are dozens of different potential diagnoses for headache - some of which respond faster to treatment than others. Without actually seeing and diagnosing you, it's difficult to predict how many treatments you might need before you notice something different.

I specialize in pain management and I see a lot of headache/migraine patients. My general rule of thumb is: headache patients should be noticing a change in severity and/or frequency by the 3rd or 4th visit (assuming weekly treatment). By the 5th or 6th visit we are usually starting to spread things out so we can find that patient's maintenance interval. Sometimes I hit the nail on the head and after 4 or 5 treatments, the issue resolves.

For the best possible result, please make sure you're seeing someone licensed as an acupuncturist in your state. If you're not in CA, you can use the "Find a Practitioner" lookup at to get a list of providers local to you.