A.Modern acupuncture needles are stainless steel, and are between one-half and three inches long, ultra-fine, and quite flexible. They are pre-sterilized, non-toxic, and disposable (single-use). When the needles are tapped into the skin, there may not be any sensation. Much depends on the location (hands and feet tend to be more sensitive), the condition being treated, and the acupuncturist’s technique. Needles are typically placed in several acu-points and are usually left in about 20 to 40 minutes. The goal is to normalize the circulation of Qi and blood by stimulating the energy point, which encourages the body’s natural healing process. Stimulation can be done by rotating the needles manually or attaching electrodes to send a weak electric current through the needles (electro-acupuncture).
The number of treatments needed depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your health condition. 2 or 3 treatments may be sufficient for an acute condition, while a series of 5 to 15 treatments may be needed to resolve chronic conditions. Some degenerative conditions may require ongoing treatments over a long period of time.
Other techniques may include moxibustion (burning herbs to heat acu-points), cupping (suction), auricular therapy (ear acupuncture), and acupressure.
Patients should evaluate their progress after each session. Some relief should be apparent in two or three sessions, or six to eight sessions for more pervasive conditions. If you see encouraging signs, stick with it.