Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes, acupuncture is extremely safe if appropriate patient history is taken and treatment is performed by a licensed professional. All needles are FDA approved, sterilized, and disposable.
Special care must be taken with patients who have diabetes, compromised immune systems, bleeding disorders, low blood pressure, surgical implants, or who are pregnant.
The most common side effect of acupuncture is local, minor bruising.
Does It Hurt?
Acupuncture needles differ significantly when compared to the syringes used to draw blood or inject medications. Acupuncture needles are much smaller in diameter, extremely fine, and are only slightly thicker than a single strand of human hair.
Due to the speed of needle insertion, patients usually experience no pain. Once the needle is inserted, patients may feel a heaviness, throbbing, or dull sensation in the area. Muscles may contract in the area for a moment before relaxing as well. These are completely normal sensations and are what makes acupuncture work. Patients often times fall asleep during the treatment due to how relaxing the treatment is.
Occasionally a patient may experience a mild pinching or burning sensation upon needle insertion. This is caused by the needle penetrating a hair follicle. Patients should inform the acupuncturist immediately, so the needle can be reinserted without causing discomfort.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The number of treatments required depends the type of condition, how long the condition has existed, the response to treatment, and how much recovery is reasonably possible. Approximately half of all patients receive 5-6 treatments over 2-3 weeks, and then should be reassessed. Long standing or menstrual conditions may take up to 12 treatments. The standard number used in research studies averages approximately 10 treatments.
What Can I Expect From My First Visit?
Initial visits are usually 90 minutes in length.
You should expect to arrive approximately 15-20 minutes early to fill out patient history and associated forms. The acupuncturist will then spend around 30-45 minutes reviewing your health history, asking questions about your condition, and explaining their assessment and treatment plan. Acupuncture should be performed , and you will rest comfortably with needles inserted for 20-40 minutes. You should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing, and you may be required to wear a gown for treatment.
Follow up visits are usually 35-45 minutes.