DO THE NEEDLES HURT?
This is usually the biggest concern that people have when first getting acupuncture. My answer is mostly NO. What I tell all new patients is; the needles are hair thin and are more like a pin rather than a hollow tip hypodermic which are the type that doctors and nurses use for vaccines and taking blood. The hypodermic needles are about 16 times thicker than an acupuncture needle.
When inserting the acupuncture needle, you may feel a slight pinch. Most of the time you won’t even know I inserted the needle. On a rare occasion, there will be an electrical sensation which means that the acupuncture needle is touching a nerve. All I do is pull the needle back a bit and the sensation goes away.
Another sensation that you may feel is a dull ache. This is actually a good sign! It means that energy is moving and any blockages or stagnations physically or emotionally are being pushed through. It usually on last a few minutes then goes away.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Since pain is what a large number of people initially come in for, I can usually have a patient walking out the door with significant relief ranging from 40-90%. This will last anywhere from a few days to a week in the beginning phases of treatment. In the beginning phases of acupuncture, you need to stay ahead of the pain. To make it easy, if you came in with shoulder pain which was a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale you would want to get another treatment before the pain level is a 7 or 8 out of 10. Then the next treatment would be a 5 or 6 out of 10. Then a 3 out of 10 etc.. The initial couple of treatments may only last a few days and the pain can come back quickly. That is why I recommend that patients come in twice a week for the first 2 or 3 weeks. If you only go once a week in the beginning the pain level will most likely supersede the pain threshold from the treatment before. This will make healing take significantly longer and more money. After the initial couple of weeks then you can start spreading out the treatments till you get to the point where you may only need to come in once a month for a tune up which is usually if you have chronic pain. Acute pain most like you won’t need to come back unless you injure yourself again.
After a treatment you may feel some different sensations. Since everyone is different you may feel one or many of these. Sometimes you will feel tired and want to sleep or you could have a burst of energy and feel great. With pain, the sensations may get more painful for a day then the pain will decrease significantly. You may also notice a change several hours after you walk out the door. It really just depends.
Everybody’s bodies are different and that is why it is hard to tell people how long things will take to improve. With Acute issues (up to 3 months) I recommend giving 4-6 treatments then evaluate. It may not take that long. With Chronic issues, I recommend giving at least 10 treatments before you begin to feel marked relief. The longer you have an ailment usually the longer it takes to relieve the problem.