Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Most people barely feel a thing when needles are inserted. Some people feel a slight pinch, and others ask “Is it in yet?” The reason acupuncture needles don’t give the painful sensation you might expect is because they’re very, very thin in comparison to the hypodermic needles used to give injections. Hypodermic needles are necessarily hollow so that the shot can be injected. They also have a very blunt point (actually a wedge shape) in comparison to an acupuncture needle. Forty acupuncture needles can fit into the tip of one standard 18 gauge hypodermic needle.

There are certain sensations associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture, which are known as de qi (pronounced “day-chee”). These effective sensations include  heaviness, distention, tingling, warmth or electric sensation traveling along a meridian. If any discomfort is experienced, it is usually mild.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is very safe. The average liability coverage for an acupuncturist is about $600 per year, while primary care physicians pay an average of $12,000 per year. That’s a 20:1 difference. While this may not translate into exactly a 20 to 1 difference in safety, a visit to an acupuncturist is at least as safe as a visit to your doctor, if not safer.

Acupuncture needles are extremely safe, because they are pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and disposable/single-use. Every practitioner gets extensive training in anatomy so as to avoid accidentally inserting a needle in a place that can cause damage.

Do I have to believe in it for it to work? Does acupuncture always work?

Acupuncture and herbs work whether you believe in them or not. Good results are seen in the majority of cases. When all other treatment methods have failed, this indicates a systematic imbalance – exactly what acupuncture and herbs excel at treating.  Animals don’t believe in anything much, but acupuncture relieves seizures in Great Danes, hip problems in German Shepherds, and knee issues in Golden Retrievers.

How often would I need to come in for treatment?

Typically acupuncture treatments are given once a week. If the condition is acute and painful, treatments may be given 2-3 times per week until the condition starts to come under control. The exact duration of treatment depends on the condition, your basic level of health, your lifestyle and how well you respond to acupuncture.

How does acupuncture work?

Chinese medical theory says that “qi” – which is often translated as “vital air”  is responsible for even blood flow in the body. When even blood flow slows down, gets blocked or deranged the human body will start to go off balance and soon symptoms will occur signaling that there is something wrong in your body. Just like the check engine light that comes on your board while your driving, the engine still runs, but its is a SIGN that you need to have your car looked at. Unfortunately, qi can’t be measured with modern scientific instruments, but the results of acupuncture can be.

A good example of this is labor induction. One of the first things that Oriental medical students learn is that  certain points are very effective and used in most treatments those same points are absolutely forbidden to use with pregnant women. Those points are used to induce natural labor, believed to cause the release of the hormone oxytocin.. Studies have shown that using acupuncture to induce labor reduces the active (painful) phase of labor by an average of 3.6 hours.

All we really know about acupuncture is that it works by assisting your body in doing what it’s designed to do – regulate and heal itself.

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

Doesn’t matter. Our rates are lower than most co-payments, so we don’t have to deal with insurance.

If you’re interested in learning more about community acupuncture, please read this book by Manchester Community Acupuncture:

(16mb in size)