Does acupuncture hurt?

Patients respond to acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only a minimal pinching pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all.

Once the needles are inserted, a heavy sensation may be felt, but no pain during the 20-30 minutes the needles remain in place.

Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid, rather than the hollow needles used for injections and blood draws, and the risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle.

Should I Do Anything Before Treatment?

Following a few simple suggestions can improve your treatment experience and enhance results.

 

  • Eat normal, nutritious meals before and after treatment but avoid eating a large meal immediately before or after treatment.

    If your appointment is in the morning, don’t skip breakfast!

  • Avoid heavy exercise and alcoholic beverages approximately 6 hours following treatment.
  • Plan to get good quality sleep after each treatment; this is especially important for the first 2-3 sessions.
  • Alcohol and recreational drugs can interfere with the effectiveness of treatment. Try to eliminate or decrease the amounts of these 2-3 days prior to your appointment.
  • Loose clothing should be worn, especially pants and sleeves that can be rolled above the knees and elbows.

Are there any side effects to treatment?

As energy is redirected in the body with acupuncture, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. It is common during or immediately after the first one or two treatments to feel very relaxed and even slightly disoriented. These sensations quickly resolve and most patients report improved sleep quality the night following each session.

Side effects to acupuncture and TCM treatments are rare.

Occasionally, a patient’s original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other mild changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These changes should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work and they, too, will resolve quickly. Minor bruising may also occur, especially with myofascial cupping and tui na techniques, though these side effects are temporary and usually not painful.