I've never had Acupuncture before.
What's the deal with Acupuncture needles?
Acupuncture needles are nothing like your conventional hypodermic needle! Indeed they are sterile, single-use disposable instruments made of surgical grade steel, but they are generally not much thicker than an eyebrow hair. They are also solid (rather than hollow), and quite flexible (can be bent and curled with the fingers). Often the insertion is barely noticed, if noticed at all.
The needles are placed in specific points on the body according to your treatment plan. During needle placement, you may be asked to provide some feedback to help ensure that the needles have their optimum placement, and you have your optimum level of comfort.
When all the needles are in place, you may be aware of some sensations around the needles, or you may not feel them at all. These sensations are different for everyone, but the general overall feeling should be one of deep relaxation. The practitioner may manipulate the needles gently to enhance desired effects, but please note that none of this is meant to be painful.
After your comfort is assured, the needles will be left in for a period of about 15-30 minutes. It is important that you are able to relax as much as possible during your treatment. Heat and blankets can be applied to keep you cozy and warm and dim lights combined with soothing music can help soothe the senses and allow you to fully unwind. If you like, you can practice some gentle breathing or meditation and add some personal inner visualization to your treatment.
Does it hurt?
During most treatments you don't feel anything at all, and generally the most discomfort you may feel is a quick twinge that goes away immediately. The most common side effect reported is occasional light bruising on an area that was treated.
How many needles are inserted during a typical treatment?
The amount depends on the condition, sex, age and vitality of the patient, but typically it ranges from 8 to 18 needles.
Have more questions?
Are the needles sterilized?
In Canada and in regulated Provinces like British Columbia, the needles have to be disposable (one time use). They come in a package that your Acupuncturist opens at the time of treatment. It is safe and clean.
How many sessions does a patient require to see a difference?
Again this depends on the conditions (acute requires less sessions versus chronic which may need more), the vitality of the patient and also what the patient does with the Acupuncturist recommendation after treatment (ie: diet, lifestyle change, exercise...) will affect the number of sessions. But usually after 3 treatments, the patient should feel some improvement with the condition.