Q: Does acupuncture hurt? What does it feel like?
A: Acupuncture needles are very fine—not much thicker that a human hair. People’s experiences of acupuncture vary and can include some mild, but temporary discomfort or a feeling of a slight electrical impulse. Many people report entering a state of relaxed awareness, and others fall asleep during treatment. Some people are extremely sensitive (and receive fewer and even thinner needles) while others may not feel much at all. While most acupuncture treatments are not painful, some of the deeper treatments of Classical Acupuncture can involve some discomfort. If the acupuncturist feels the patient’s condition warrants this type of treatment, he/she will discuss it with the patient thoroughly before proceeding.
Q: What can the patient expect after treatment?
A: The patient may note a spot of blood at one or more needle sites and /or small bruise. These shouldn’t be harmful, but he /she should talk to the practitioner if concerned. Patients often experience the most dramatic results in the first treatment. Some patient experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. Their pain, however, may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally, the patient should expect to feel better.
Q: What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?
A: Patients should ask about where the practitioner was trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.