Acupuncture is an old, ancient Chinese medical technique procedure, using very fine needles, and is used to provide pain relief as well as able to treat a varied range of diseases by restoring the normal flow of energy (chi or qi) throughout the body.
This medicine may be ancient but it isn't outdated, in fact, more and more research are being done to understand better the scope and reach and benefits of traditional chinese medicine including acupuncturing.
A standard acupuncture session includes the insertion of very, very fine, hair-thin needles into very specific points on the body to jump-start/restore healing response from your body. Not to worry, these acupuncture needles are NEVER re-used, even on the same patient. And they're so thin and fine that most people do not even realize that the needles are already in.
Some people feel a light tingling sensation when they're inserted but most don't feel it (yay!)
Acupuncture points (where the acupuncture needles tend to be inserted) are mostly found along the meridians through which Chi / Qi (bodily energy flows) - think of these meridians as "energy highways" in our bodies. What acupuncture does is to move this energy using techniques of ascending, descending, reinforcing, reducing, warming and clearing to create the desired healing response.
Each acupuncture treatment session lasts approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Sometimes, the TCM physician may also include heat stimulation and cupping with the needles in order to increase the efficacy of healing.
Are more efforts and funding flow into research in traditional chinese medicine, research and researchers have identified a few physiological mechanism that demonstrates the healing effects of TCM acupuncture treatments to the human body.
What they found is that acupuncture treatments stimulates electromagnetic signals in the body, which then are transmitted at a faster rate than normal. And then some of these signals active pain-numbing/killing biochemicals such as endorphins, whereas some others stimulate immune system cells to specific areas that are injured or vulnerable to illness and diseases.
Research also revealed that placing acupuncture needles at specific acupuncture/meridian points also can activate opioids in the brain that relieves pain and promotes restful/deeper sleep.
Acupuncture also increases the activation of neurotransmitters and hormones that improve our human organs functions in beneficial ways, such as boosting immunity, regulate basic metabolic functions such as blood pressure, temperature, glucose levels etc.
This is a very common question asked by most patients, and to be frank, it is very hard for us to pin point a specific number of sessions.
You see, the number of sessions and the frequency needed actually varies from patients to patients depending on their age, health conditions, severity, amount of built-up damage, response to acupuncture etc.
This is the reason some people respond within the first 1-3 sessions, whereas others take 10-20+ acupuncture treatment sessions.
A general understanding is that chronic pain (ongoing pain that has been around for years) will require at least 2-3 session a week for 3-6 weeks, and then we can gradually reduce the number of sessions to once per week or once every other week.