Acupuncture needles
Acupuncture needles range from 1/4 inch to several inches in length and a few thousandths to several thousandths of an inch in diameter. The vast majority of needles used in the US are surgical stainless steel but copper, gold and silver are still in use. All needles used today are sterilized and disposable.

Is it painful?

When the needle is inserted the patient may feel nothing or slight pinching sensation. Any pain should subside within a few seconds after insertion. Sensation after needles insertion varies widely. Heaviness around needle, tingling or a feeling like electricity are some common sensations. These represent acupuncture points and channels being activated. Acupuncture is a remarkably safe form of therapy with very few, if any, side effects. Practitioner training, practice and skilled technique minimize pain. With removal of needles, there is rarely any discomfort and bleeding is very rare.

How long is a treatment?

Typically after insertion, the needles are left in 20 to 30 minutes. The experience while the needles are in depends upon the nature of the imbalance of the flow of energy. Sometimes the patient relaxes profoundly or goes to sleep. Other times the patient enter a meditative state. The experience can vary widely during the course of treatment.

How many treatments are needed?

Every person and condition is seen as unique in Chinese medicine. The more chronic a condition, in general, the more treatments will be needed. Some acute conditions can resolve in as few as one treatment.

What should one expect after a treatment?
Experiences can vary after a treatment. The patient may feel extremely relaxed, or light and energized. Sometimes patients experience a state of clarity. Some people will feel invigorated, others will want to go to sleep. Depending on what condition is being treated one should notice the peak effect of the acupuncture treatment within 24 to 48 hours after the treatment.

Is it safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from treatments performed by a non-qualified practitioners. Practitioners should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient.

There are some rare occurrences of nausea, dizziness, bruising, or fainting. To minimize the danger of falling, be sure you are well supported and/or preferably in a lying position when receiving acupuncture.

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