A treatment consists of inserting the sterile individually wrapped needles 1/8 to 1/4 inch superficially through the skin into muscle or subcutaneous tissue. The needles are made in various countries, primarily Japan and China, and come in various lengths and thickness but are very thin compared to sewing needles. The needles have very sharp conical tips instead of the cutting tips in needles that we use for drawing blood of injections. Therefore there is very little trauma to the skin, with rare bleeding or bruising since they part tissue and do not cut through it.
Needles remain in contact for 12 to 20 minutes and may be left untouched, manually stimulated, stimulated with a TENS unit (transcutaneous nerve stimulator) or warmed with moxa (a Chinese incense). Side effects are usually minor and extremely rare. There are less than 300 recorded world wide the past 30 years. The most common being bruises or an occasional drop of blood. None of the bruises were larger than a thumb nail and that occurs occasionally, less than 2 a month.
People almost universally have the best night’s sleep following a treatment, and often are very energized. There is often change in mood, thinking and feeling. This is because there is a mind body connection. Does it hurt? Most people are surprised by how easy a treatment is. The feeling of the needling is a variable experience. Expectations of pain far exceed the actual experience. There can be a slight feeling of momentary heaviness or tingling at the point or meridian, but it is mild and well tolerated.
Response is very favorable from patients with their being surprised on how benign a procedure it is or how fast and effective the treatment is. A recent study done at 6 acupuncture clinics had the following results: Respondents used a variety of health-care modalities 57% claimed that acupuncture “definitely” was what made the difference, 19.9% said it was “probably” acupuncture that caused their improvement and 17.5% said it was a combination of factors.