Is acupuncture safe? Yes, when performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist. Acupuncturists are required to use disposable needles that are discarded after one use. It is highly unusual to have any complications. One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions. Typically, most people experience improved sleeping patterns, a sense of relaxation, and better energy. Does acupuncture hurt? No, acupuncture should not hurt. Acupuncture is a very gentle procedure. However, sensation at the acupuncture point is common and often necessary in order to achieve the therapeutic goal. Most people find acupuncture to be extremely relaxing and a rejuvenating experience. How many treatments will I need? Every person is different in how long it takes their body to respond to acupuncture and start to work on it’s own to heal the condition. If you have had a condition for years it will take months to treat. If you’ve had a condition for months it will take weeks to treat. And if you’ve had it for weeks it will take days to treat. That said, the number of treatments required depends on each person’s condition and their body’s response to acupuncture. One acupuncture session generally will not resolve your issue. In chronic conditions, I generally recommend 4 to 6 treatments to see how the body responds to acupuncture and how long the recovery process might take. This may be over the course of 2 to 3 weeks. This way the body can gain momentum and there will be less starts and stops to the healing process. If we start with more treatments in the beginning the conditions generally resolves quicker and with less treatments overall. I will outline a complete treatment plan specific to your condition and your health goals on the first visit. Remember to keep in mind that acupuncture is not a “miracle pill” and that a commitment is required to receive the immense benefits it has to offer. What is the education level of a licensed acupuncturist? Acupuncture and Chinese medical diagnosis take many years to fully learn and master. A professional with the designation of “Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.)” has received rigorous graduate-level training over a period of 3 or 4 years (3,000 classroom and clinical hours), spent hundreds of hours in a supervised clinical setting, treated hundreds of patients and passed a series of board exams. Compare this amount of training to the 100 to 300 hour courses that allow other professional without the designation of “L.Ac.” to practice acupuncture. A professionally licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, that devotes a full-time practice to treating patients with these tools will be able to offer a much more safe, skillful, and therapeutic approach with this medicine.