It’s a form of traditional Chinese medicine. It aims to correct imbalances of energy, or “chi,” in the body. To do that, practitioners use very fine stainless-steel needles to stimulate the body’s 14 major energy-carrying channels, or “meridians.”
Acupuncture may curb pain by boosting the amount of natural pain killers your body makes, called endorphins.
The person who treats you is called an acupuncturist. He’ll swab each area with alcohol before tapping a very thin needle into the site. The number of needles you’ll get, where they’re placed, and how deeply they’re inserted depends upon your particular case.
The needles will stay in place for several minutes to an hour. The acupuncturist may adjust, warm, or electrically energize them to intensify the effect. You may feel some tingling if electricity is used. It should be mild, and you can ask your acupuncturist to dial it down at any time.
You may need to get more than one session.
No. You may feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted, but it is much less than the prick you feel during a shot, since the needles are much thinner. You may feel a heaviness, numbness, tingling, or mild soreness after the needles have been put in.
Ms. Ting Wang
Member of British Acupuncture Council (BAcC)
Clinician in Neurology department, Heilongjiang University of TCM Hospital
MSc. in Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture), London South Bank University
BSc. in Clinical Discipline of Chinese and Western Integrative, Heilongjiang University of TCM