First, acupuncture is a holistic healthcare technique that involves inserting needles into specific points in the body. Studies have been conducted and it has been proven to treat ear, nose, throat, respiratory, gastrointestinal, eye, nervous system and muscular disorders.
The needles used in acupuncture are very small and you will probably feel a slight twitch when the needle goes in. They will be inserted carefully to ¼ or an inch in depth and will stay there from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the condition of the patient.
If inserted properly, you should feel some cramping, distention, electric sensation or tingling which means that the treatment is working.
Needles used for acupuncture especially in the US are clean because they are required to be disposable. This prevents any chance that those who go for treatment will be contaminated by a communicable disease like hepatitis or HIV.
Given that this has been practiced for more than 2000 years, various styles of acupuncture have been developed. So, before you decide to go for a session, you should know what technique is used so they can explain to you what happens.
When looking for an acupuncturist, you should also ask where they got their training, how long they have been in the practice and most importantly, what experience the specialist has had in treating the condition you are experiencing.
They should also be able to present their credentials like where they graduated and their state board license. If you live in a state that does not require a license, make sure they have something to show which certifies that they can practice their profession like a document from the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists.
The duration of your treatment varies depending on the nature of your problem. Some are easy to fix compared to others especially if you are dealing with something long term. For instance, alcoholics and drug users may quit their vices after 3 or 4 months while those suffering from a disease like autism will take years as there is no know cure yet for the this illness.
Before the needles are inserted, you need to undergo a physical examination and answer a few questions. There are risks involved even though it is a painless procedure because the needle might hit something vital inside but if the specialist is good, then there is nothing to worry about.
You may notice a spot of blood when the needles come off. But if you are concerned about it, talk to your acupuncturist so he or she can prescribe something.
Some patients will experience immediate relief after the first session but others will not experience anything at all. This is the reason that an average session should be done 12 to 15 times at least 2 to 3 times a week.
If acupuncture works for you, then the only thing you need are follow up sessions. This can be done twice every 2 weeks or monthly. It is really up to you. But dont forget to also see your regular doctor so he or she can also monitor the progress of your condition.