What to Expect After Acupuncture

New things can be a little scary, especially when they involve needles. If you’ve taken that first step and gotten an acupuncture treatment – that’s great. This article has some information on what you can expect to notice or feel after an acupuncture treatment.

At the needle site…

You may notice a tingling, aching, soreness or numbness around the area. Some people feel like a needle is still in the skin. These feelings are normal, usually minor and are temporary. If we used the needle to release a muscular trigger point the muscle may ache or feel like you had an intense workout for a day or so. This is also normal and applying gentle heat to the muscle or taking a bath with epsom salts will encourage the muscle to relax further.

Bruising…

Any therapy that breaks the surface of the skin can produce minor bleeding. This can manifest as a few drops of blood coming out with the needle or as a bruise. Bruising is common in patients, especially as we get older. Poor circulation is the cause of it. As your treatments progress, bruising should become less frequent as your circulation improves.

Most common response…

In the beginning you may notice small changes or no change at all. The change may last for just a day or two and then go back. This is all normal and the relief will improve and last longer as you progress through the treatment plan. In the first few visits a patient can feel either an increase or a decrease in energy. Either one is normal as the body adjusts to the improved blood flow that occurs through acupuncture. Many people notice that they sleep better in the next few nights after their treatment.

Quick changes…

Sometimes people have dramatic and lasting improvement with very few treatments. In this case the treatment plan is adjusted down. A quick change has more to do with what’s happening with the patient and is not usually a result of a masterful treatment. Most things require a course of treatments.

Any change is a good change…

In about 5-10% of cases the issue being treated acts up for 24 hours following the session, followed by great relief. This is a good sign. A general rule of thumb is any change is a good change. Please keep us informed with what you experience after treatment.

Slow changes…

Sometimes results take longer than predicted. It is still possible that you will benefit from acupuncture. If your main complaint is not changing then look at other aspects of your life for improvement. You may feel more like yourself, sleep better, have more energy, or notice improvement with a different symptom. These are all positive signs that treatment is helping. We can increase the treatment plan to help speed things along.

Observe your body…

Pay attention to your body for the next 24-48 hours. Take note of any changes that you notice. If possible, avoid activities that make your symptoms worse over the next few weeks. The best chance you have for acupuncture to work is to stick with the treatment plan.

More on changes…

It is important for you to go about your day as you normally would. Feeling better may prompt you to increase your activity. During this period of time we ask that you maintain your regular levels of activity so as not to exacerbate a returning symptom. Also, acupuncture is a therapy – one or two treatments will not cure anything. Therapy means a series of treatments to improve a condition. It can sometimes happen that a chronic symptom can go away in one treatment and not come back, but this is rare. The normal course of treatment is for the symptoms to go away and then return, multiple times. Generally as the symptoms return they are milder and shorter in duration before going away for good.

Feeling better…

After you are feeling better it is best to gradually space out treatments. Many people find regular maintenance treatments very helpful. It helps keeps symptoms from returning or keeps the symptoms manageable. It also creates a feeling of wellness. The most profound shifts with acupuncture come with regular treatments over a long period of time. Depending on your unique situation, this can be as little as once a month.

If you have any concerns or questions about your treatment or any reactions to the treatment please feel free to contact me. I am always happy to answer questions. 587-997-6157.