Migraine and tension headaches.
Nausea and vomiting after a surgery or cancer treatment.
Sudden or severe (acute) pain, or long-term (chronic) pain.
Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine, which recognizes more than 2,000 points on the body that connect energy pathways (meridians) through the body. The goal in stimulating these points is to balance the physical, emotional, and mental energy in your body. Acupuncture is done by a health care provider who has specialized training (licensed acupuncture practitioner).
Treatment often requires several acupuncture sessions. You may have acupuncture along with other medical treatments.
Tell a health care provider about:
Any allergies you have.
All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
Any blood disorders you have.
Any surgeries you have had.
Any medical conditions you have.
Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
What are the risks?
Damage to organs or structures that are under the skin if a needle is placed too deeply. This is rare.
What happens before the treatment?
Your acupuncture practitioner will ask about your medical history and your symptoms.
You may have a physical exam.
What happens during the treatment?
Your skin will be cleaned with a germ-killing (antiseptic) solution.
Your acupuncture practitioner will open a new set of germ-free (sterile) needles.
The needles will be gently inserted into your skin. They will be left in place for a certain amount of time. You may feel a tingling or burning sensation for a very short period of time.
- Your acupuncture practitioner may:
Apply electrical energy to the needles.
Adjust the needles in certain ways.
After your procedure, the acupuncture practitioner will remove the needles, throw them away, and clean your skin.
The procedure may vary among health care providers.
What can I expect after the treatment?
A small amount of bleeding.
Follow these instructions at home:
Follow any instructions given by your provider after the treatment.
Keep all follow-up visits. This is important.
Where to find more information
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: www.nccih.nih.gov
Contact a health care provider if:
You have questions about your reaction to the treatment.
You have soreness.
You have skin irritation or redness.
You have a fever.
Acupuncture is a type of treatment that involves stimulating specific points on your body by inserting thin needles through your skin.
This treatment is often used to treat pain, but it may also be used to help relieve other types of symptoms.
The exact procedure will depend on your condition and how your acupuncture provider treats it.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.