Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is extremely safe — only sterile, one-time-use needles are used. After a treatment, it is possible to have minor soreness or bruising at the needle insertion sites.

Does acupuncture treatment hurt?

The idea of needles being stuck into the skin is daunting, but acupuncture needles aren’t anything like needles that are used for immunizations or for drawing blood. Acupuncturists describe the needles as hair-thin, stainless steel and disposable. While you may feel some sensation as the needles are inserted, it’s not described as painful. Some sensations you may feel have been described as:

The bottom line is that while acupuncture can cause some unusual sensations, it shouldn’t hurt. If it does, let your acupuncturist know right away so the needles can be adjusted.

How many sessions do you recommend?

Everyone responds to acupuncture differently, but the majority of people will experience results in one to three treatments. As a general rule, chronic conditions will take longer for results. I usually recommend weekly treatments for a month, and then decrease treatment to every other week for another few months. Patients often find it beneficial to receive “maintenance” acupuncture treatment every few months after they complete their initial treatment plan.

What Is Acupuncture Best For?

Acupuncture is best known to help ease pain, but the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture lists conditions the World Health Organization recommends for acupuncture, including:

What Risks Are Associated with Acupuncture?

When acupuncture is done correctly by a licensed practitioner, the risks are low. Acupuncture should be done in a clean environment, using clean, disposable and unbreakable needles.

According to the NIH, few complications from acupuncture have been reported, but when they are, they usually come from non-licensed acupuncturists using non-sterile needles and delivering treatments improperly. The NIH says these rare but serious adverse effects include infections, punctured organs, collapsed lungs and damage to the central nervous system.