Practitioner, Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, WA
Adjunct Faculty/Lecturer, Northwestern Health Sciences University,
Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine,
Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine,
Clinic Supervisor, Bastyr University
Graduate student, Asian Languages and Literature, Univ of WA
1. How big are the needles?
Pretty small. Please see the chart at right.
2. Does it hurt?
Though acupuncture needles are tiny, they are placed at very specific
points on the body that are directly associated with illness. There may,
therefore, be sensation felt with an acupuncture treatment. This, in fact,
is one indicator that treatment is both needed and is having good effect.
You may feel the insertion of the needle. Though this is not always the
case. You may then also feel when the practitioner skillfully manipulates
the needle to have the desired effect on the tissue. This sensation is
often described as a dull ache or even as subtle movement through the
Whatever sensation you may feel, it is always temporary, lasting only
seconds. For the duration of the treatment patients are generally calm,
relaxed, and often find themselves falling asleep.
3. How many treatments does it take?
The answer to this question varies significantly from patient to patient.
Certain conditions can be completely resolved with only a few
Chronic conditions or those which have already been the target of
multiple other therapies, for example, surgery or drug therapy, will
usually take longer to effect substantial change.
Importantly, symptom relief should begin within the first one or two
Keep in mind that, with acupuncture, symptoms are not simply being
removed or turned off. The body is actually returning to health. The
resolution of physical symptoms is merely a side benefit of this
underlying improvement in health.