Another common question is, “Does it hurt?” The answer is: sometimes.
Your first acupuncture session will typically last up to 90 minutes. This will include an interview process, much like you would experience in the first visit with a medical provider. You may be seeking help for headaches, back pain or digestive issues and wonder why your acupuncturist is asking questions about your childhood experiences, emotions or job satisfaction. Rest assured, everything discussed is relevant to the issue at hand. Remember, the foundation of health lies in the fact that everything is connected – your headaches may be caused by insufficient sleep, and your fatigue may be a result of chronic dehydration. If you think, “I’m not sure this is relevant, but…” don’t hesitate to share this with your acupuncturist. Chances are that it is, indeed, relevant.
After your acupuncturist has conducted a complete interview, he or she will ask you to lay down on a massage table (or in a reclining chair, depending on the set-up). They will then insert needles into various parts of your body. You will usually feel some sensation with this needle insertion. This may feel like a mosquito bite, or maybe a bee sting, depending on where the point is located. However, this sensation should last only a second or two. An acupuncture treatment is not supposed to hurt. This is not a place of, “no pain, no gain.” If you are ever in pain or discomfort during an acupuncture treatment, let your practitioner know immediately. And don’t worry – just because they are not inserting them into your area of discomfort does not mean they are ignoring your concerns. Remember, everything is connected.
The provider will now allow you to rest peacefully for 20-30 minutes. Most people experience feelings of great relaxation during the treatment, with these feelings often lasting for days. This is the time to tune in to your body, your dreams and your emotions. What are you noticing? Begin to pay attention to even the slightest sensations – your body may have some messages for you.
You will likely be asked to return for a series of sessions, and should see results within four to six treatments. If you are not noticing any shifts in your system, your acupuncturist may have to try a different approach. Acupuncture does work, but it may take time. Remember, every person and health concern is different, and typically, the longer an ailment has been around, the longer it may take to resolve. While evidence throughout the centuries has been largely empirical, based on experiential proof of efficacy, there are more scientific, evidence-based studies being published every year.
The key to any healing partnership is trust and open communication. You should feel comfortable sharing information with your acupuncturist, and feel a sense of ease during all stages of your treatment. Acupuncture may be “new” to Phoenix, but the medicine is timeless, and your comfort and healing journey are what matter most in any session.