|What's It Like?
WHAT ARE THE NEEDLES LIKE? DO THEY HURT?
It is unfortunate that we use the word "needle" to describe acupuncture, because this tends to make people think of giving blood or getting a vaccination. The thin pins used in acupuncture are no thicker than a couple hairs. In fact, you can insert a couple acupuncture needles inside the tube of a standard hypodermic. The pin is solid and made from stainless steel. The point is smooth (not hollow with a cutting edge like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not painful like an injection or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle.
Most people are surprised at how little they feel the acupuncture needles. Some patients feel only a minimal pricking sensation as the needles are inserted; many feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there is no discomfort at all. Some people also report feeling a pleasant sensation when the needle goes in, like a flower opening or a tingly flow of energy or warmth.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NECESSARY?
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
Usually not. Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a day or two, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work. It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome.
ARE THERE ANY "DO'S AND DONT'S" FOR PATIENTS ON THE DAY OF TREATMENT?
Yes. To enhance the value of the treatment, the following guidelines are given to all acupuncture patients at the East West Acupuncture clinic:
- Do not eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after your treatment. On the other hand, you should not receive acupuncture treatment on an empty stomach. Eat a light meal or snack first.
- Do not over-exercise, engage in sexual activity, or consume alcoholic beverages within 6 hours before or after the treatment.
- Plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits.
- Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor.
- Remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for your doctor to know so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you and your problem.