How Long Does the Effect of Acupuncture Last?

Acupuncture is a component of Chinese Medicine and a form of alternative medicine, which involves healing by inserting thin needles into the body. It works by stimulating certain points in the body for management of pain and other health issues. This form of treatment has gained popularity across the globe due to its effectiveness. It is commonly used as an adjunct to conventional treatment and used to treat conditions such as chronic pain. Acupuncture works through the neuro-hormonal pathways, where the needles stimulate the acupressure points to send signals to the brain through the nerve pathway. In response to this, the brain releases neural hormone such as beta-endorphins, which makes the patient comfortable and helps in increasing the pain threshold of the patient; thus making the patient pain free or symptom free.

How Long does the Effect of Acupuncture Last?

How Long Does the Effect of Acupuncture Last?

The length of time for which the effect of acupuncture lasts for depends on multiple factors. The most important factors which affect the effectiveness of the acupuncture are:

  • The nature or severity of the symptoms present
  • How long the patient has had the symptoms for?

The time required for acupuncture varies from one person to other, as each human being is different from the other and react to the treatment differently. The symptoms for the same disease may differ in each patient thus the time taken to heal may also vary accordingly. The longer the persons have had the symptoms for, the longer time it will take for acupuncture to show its action. This is because, the body is well acquainted to a nerve pathway eliciting pain and the symptoms and it may take a while to break this pattern. The body may take longer time to get used to the alternative nerve pathway established through acupuncture. Acupuncture helps the body to develop a new habit of healing, and it usually takes longer to build it up in case of chronic symptoms.

Once the new nerve pathway is built, the effects of acupuncture are seen to last for months together. It has been seen in a study that the effects of acupuncture did not deteriorate considerably even after 12 months.

How to Understand If Your Acupuncture Session is Really Effective?

Acupuncture, when used in conjunction with conventional medicine, can help in making the conventional treatment faster; but when taken alone on its own, it is a much slower, gentler and a holistic form of healing. The response is sometimes very quick and intense and in some cases, it may be subtle. It is important to note the signs of healing to ensure that the acupuncture treatment is working. Some of these signs include:

  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Change in digestion pattern and appetite
  • Change is bathroom habits
  • Emotional ups and downs
  • Fluctuation in the intensity of the symptoms through-out the day.

If the following changes are noted after the treatment has started, it indicates that the Acupuncture treatment is working and the body is responding to the new treatment. While some conditions require a single session of acupuncture, intense conditions may require multiple sessions. Most of these conditions last from 30 minutes to 1 hour. In most of the cases, the needles are left in place for 15 to 45 minutes. Some patients may experience relief immediately after the treatment (or first session), while others experience relief after more treatment.

The frequency of treatment and total number of acupuncture sessions required by a patient varies from person to person. Sometimes the sessions may be scheduled 5 times a week and for some cases it may be scheduled once a month. Majority of the patients heal after one or 2 sessions of acupuncture. The maximum number of acupuncture sessions recommended for a patient is about 9 sessions. The number of acupuncture sessions required becomes fewer as the symptoms improve.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 5, 2018

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