What Is Acupuncture: Everything You Need To Know


Acupuncture is a technique used to treat various ailments. It involves inserting fine needles into specific areas of the body. Acupuncture is based on the theory that channels of energy run through our bodies. 

They are known as meridians. These meridians are connected to organs and glands. When the flow of this energy is blocked, illness results. Acupuncture unblocks the flow of energy and restores health.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Acupuncture is done using hair-thin needles. Most people report minimal pain as the needle enters the skin. The acupuncture needle is placed to produce an ache or pressure. 

The needles are heated during treatment, or mild electric current is applied to them. Some patients report that acupuncture makes them feel energized. Others say they feel relax. 

Improper placement of needles can cause pain during treatment, so it is important to seek help from a qualified acupuncture practitioner who follows strict guidelines.

What does acupuncture do?

Acupuncture works by stimulating specific body areas called “acupuncture points.” These points are located along pathways that connect different parts of the body. When these points are stimulated, they send messages through the nervous system to other parts of the body. 

This helps regulate the functions of organs and glands. Acupuncture stimulates the flow of qi (pronounced chee), which is considered a vital life force. Qi flows throughout the body from the heart to all body parts. 

Acupuncture opens up blocked channels of qi so that it can circulate smoothly. In addition to regulating organ function, acupuncture relieves stress, reduces inflammation, promotes healing, improves sleep, and increases vitality.

How long does it take to see results?

Most people notice improvement within one week. Results continue to improve over time. Studies show that acupuncture is more effective than placebo treatments. 

Placebo treatments involve giving subjects sugar pills or saline injections. Placebos work because people expect them to help. Expectations influence how well a person feels. 

For example, if someone expects acupuncture to relieve pain, they will likely feel better after receiving it. Acupuncture is most effective when combined with other therapies such as exercise, relaxation techniques, diet changes, medications, and lifestyle modifications.

How does acupuncture affect the body?

Acupuncture points are believed to be stimulated by needles inserted into them. These needles release chemicals into the body, stimulating the body’s natural healing ability. 

Studies show that acupuncture is an effective therapy used alone or in conjunction with other treatments to relieve certain conditions such as nausea, dental pain, addiction, headaches, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, and menopausal cramps.

Does acupuncture hurt?

There is little risk of injury from acupuncture. Most people report only minor discomfort at the site of needle insertion. A few people have experienced mild bleeding or bruising. 

Occasionally, patients have reported feeling dizzy or lightheaded while having acupuncture treatment. A drop in blood pressure causes this reaction. Patients who experience this sensation should sit down until their pulse returns to normal.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is generally safe. Serious complications are rare. Rarely, acupuncture may lead to infection, allergic reactions, or nerve damage. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any unusual symptoms during your treatment.

What side effects can I expect from acupuncture?

Some people experience temporary side effects such as:

  • slight numbness around the area where the needles were placed
  • soreness or tenderness at the point of needle insertion
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • tingling sensations
  • itching
  • chills
  • fever
  • sweating
  • increased appetite
  • weight gain

What conditions may benefit from acupuncture?

Many Americans seek acupuncture treatment for chronic pain. Talk to your doctor before considering acupuncture. Conditions that may benefit include digestive, emotional, eye-ear-throat, gynecological, musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory, and miscellaneous conditions.

Considerations when choosing acupuncture

Because science hasn’t fully explained how acupuncture works, acupuncture remains controversial. 

It’s important to discuss acupuncture with your doctor before doing anything else. 

Don’t do acupuncture without discussing it with your doctor first. Be careful about acupuncture because it could harm your health. 

Please do not rely on a diagnosis made by an unlicensed acupuncturist who doesn’t even know what they are doing. 

Don’t trust someone who isn’t a doctor. Get a referral from your regular physician. You don’t need to be a doctor to be an acupuncturist, but you must go through proper training. 

Acupuncture should be considered an alternative therapy because it is cheaper than other therapies. Insurance companies may or may not cover acupuncture. It is essential to check your insurance policy before you get started.

Acupuncture is usually covered if it is part of a hospital stay. Some insurance plans will pay for acupuncture after a certain number of visits. Check with your insurance company before getting started.

How long does acupuncture last?

The length of time varies depending on the condition being treated. Acupuncture has been used successfully for years. However, there is no way to predict how long it will work. In most cases, treatments last one to three months.

Can I take medications while receiving acupuncture?

Acupuncture is often done along with medication. This combination helps many people achieve better results. Your doctor can help determine whether you’re able to use both together.

Can I receive acupuncture treatments more than once per week?

Yes. Many people find that they need only one or two treatments each month. Others require weekly treatments. Discuss this with your doctor.

Is acupuncture painful?

Yes. The sensation is similar to having a tooth pulled. Most patients feel some discomfort. A few people experience severe pain. If you are in doubt, ask your doctor. They will tell you if it is safe for you to continue.

Will acupuncture cure my problem?

It depends on the person and their condition. No one knows precisely how acupuncture works. It may be effective for some conditions. For others, acupuncture won’t provide relief.

What is the difference between Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), also called Oriental medicine, is based on theories developed over thousands of years. TCM focuses on treating the whole body rather than just the symptoms. TCM uses herbs, diet, exercise, massage, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, tui na, qigong, tuina, yoga, meditation, and other methods. 

These techniques treat the root cause of the disease rather than just its symptoms.

Western medicine is based on theories developed within the past century. Western medicine treats the symptoms of illness. 

Drugs are prescribed to relieve symptoms. Western doctors focus on curing diseases rather than preventing them. They use surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and antibiotics.

Both systems have benefits and drawbacks. Both approaches can be helpful. Neither approach is right or wrong. Which system is best for you depends on your individual needs.

What is the cost of acupuncture treatment?

There is no set price for acupuncture. Costs vary according to location, type of provider, and services provided.

How much do acupuncturists make?

Several factors determine how much an acupuncturist makes:

  •  Location – Acupuncturists who practice in urban areas usually charge higher fees than those in rural areas.
  •  Experience – More experienced practitioners typically earn more money than less experienced ones.
  •  Services offered – Acupuncturists’ ability to diagnose and treat different disorders determines their income.
  •  How well they practice – Good practitioners maintain high standards of care. They follow strict guidelines for diagnosis and treatment. They keep up-to-date with new developments in their field. They offer quality service at reasonable rates.

Are there different types of acupuncture?

Acupuncture has two primary forms: manual and electroacupuncture. Manual acupuncture involves inserting very fine needles into specific points on the skin. Electroacupuncture involves using electricity to stimulate specific points.

Do I need to take time off work to receive acupuncture treatments?

Some patients prefer not to miss work while receiving acupuncture. Others choose to take a day or two off from work. The decision should be made by each patient individually.

Can I get pregnant after having acupuncture?

Yes. Acupuncture doesn’t affect fertility. There are no known risks associated with pregnancy following acupuncture.

What are the health benefits of acupuncture? 

Acupuncture can help relieve pain and improve the quality of life for people who suffer from chronic pain. Acupuncture can also be used as a complementary treatment for patients undergoing traditional therapies. 

However, trained professionals must perform acupuncture using sterile, disposable needles and only be administered by qualified practitioners. Talk to your doctor about whether acupuncture might be right for you.

What Is Simulated Acupuncture?

Placebos are used as controls to determine whether a treatment works better than nothing. In many acupuncture studies, fake needles are used instead of real ones. 

These fake needles are sometimes painful, but they still report feeling better after receiving them. This placebo effect may explain why some people feel better when they receive acupuncture. 

It could also help to explain why some people experience relief from symptoms even though they don’t have any physical problems.

Is it safe to use acupuncture needles?

The FDA considers acupuncture needles to be medical devices. Therefore, they require manufacturers to test these products before they can be sold. Manufacturers must submit safety data to the FDA and provide information on the product’s effectiveness and side effects.

What happens after an acupuncture treatment?

Acupuncture has a relaxing effect, so you’ll want to make sure you’re rested up for your next appointment. 

You may also want to take it easy for a few days after each acupuncture session. 

If you notice that you’ve been sleeping poorly, try taking a nap during the afternoon.

Will I need any other treatments besides acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) used to treat various conditions, including pain, stress, insomnia, and more. However, it isn’t as effective as modern Western medicine. 

People who use acupuncture often combine it with other treatments such as medication. This means that if you do decide to try acupuncture, you’ll need to work with your doctor to determine whether or not it’s right for you.

How many treatments will I need?

There are different ways to treat back pain. Some people get relief after one treatment. For more severe cases, there might be several treatments over time. You’ll talk about this during your initial appointment.

Is Acupuncture Safe for Animals?

Acupuncture is one of the most effective treatments for animals. Animals usually feel better after receiving acupuncture. 

However, it does take time for acupuncture to work. After the first treatment, animals feel better for about two days. 

Then, they start feeling worse again. This happens because the body needs more time to heal. Your veterinarian can give you more details on how long it takes for acupuncture to work.

Can I Use Acupuncture at Home?

You can use acupuncture at home, but it won’t replace conventional medicine. Instead, it’s best to use acupuncture along with other treatments.