Questions & Answers
“How many treatments will I need?” can be difficult to answer.
If you have a recently developed problem, depending on the cause and severity, it is likely that it will improve more easily than a long-term, chronic condition that is deeply embedded. No two people are the same, which is why no two treatments are the same. Some people can notice an improvement within the first couple of treatments, though it can sometimes take between four and six treatments to really notice a difference. Also, sometimes, a seemingly recently occurring symptom has actually developed in relation to an underlying deficiency that has been going on for a while.
“How often do I need to come for treatment?”
If you have a recently occurring condition then it is likely that, ideally, you would benefit from a couple of treatments a week. For a lot of people, however, this can be impractical because of either lack of time or funds. Weekly treatments are the next best option. Once a condition is beginning to ease, or settle down then the time between treatments can be extended, as appropriate, until the condition has cleared.
People with on-going, long-term, chronic conditions can come to recognize the duration of time that their treatments seem to give them improvements for and they therefore like to book regular treatments at set intervals to maintain their improvement.
Other people, without specific current conditions, sometimes like to have regular, periodic treatments throughout the year as they feel these help to keep them feeling generally well and balanced. Treatments at the time of seasonal changes can be of particular benefit in this case.
“Does it hurt?”
Acupuncture needles are very, very fine and would in fact fit inside the shaft of the common type of needles used for blood tests and vaccinations. Consequently, any sensation experienced is relatively minor: Some people are not even aware the needles have been inserted. Generally, people may experience a dull ache or tingling feeling but this varies from person to person.
“Is it safe?”
Very: The risk of a serious adverse reaction to acupuncture is less than 1 in 10,000. Occasionally, a small amount of bruising may occur but this usually disappears within a few days.
“What sort of changes can I expect to notice?”
Sometimes, depending on the condition being treated, the effects of treatment are very obvious and can occur during the treatment session or a short time afterwards. Other times it can take a few days, or even weeks for things to settle down and the effects to become apparent. Expected changes such as a lessening of symptoms or an increased feeling of well-being are typical of what can be experienced.
 BMJ, 2001; 323:467