How Long Do You Leave Acupuncture Needles In?

Acupuncture is a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been used for a long time. The use of acupuncture needles as an alternative therapy has become more and more popular nowadays. However, despite its popularity, there are some concerns that come into people’s minds. One concern is how long can needles be left in? 

Since acupuncture involves inserting thin needles and a single acupuncture treatment usually lasts 30 minutes to an hour, there is no doubt that people will think that leaving the needles in for too long can be dangerous. Acupuncturists, on the other hand, often spend some time getting to know their patients and providing personalized treatment. As a result, depending on their evaluations, various patients will undergo different therapies, and different treatments will take varying amounts of time. The amount of time a needle is inserted into a certain acupoint varies greatly based on the individual being treated, their tolerance for the therapy, their condition, and the acupuncturist’s training and expertise.

During your first appointment, the acupuncturist will check your condition and examine your body for areas that will require and respond to acupuncture. Then acupuncture needles that are sterile, disposable, and as thin as a human hair are inserted into specific points just below the skin at particular points to stimulate the point and or nerves/nerve plexus. 

In most cases, “15–20 minutes is the recommended time for the needles to be left in, although they may be kept in place for as long as 45 minutes” while you lie still and relax. The needles may cause a minor prickling feeling after insertion, but they should not cause any pain while in place. “A typical treatment session involves the stimulation of anything from four to twenty acupoints”. “During an acupuncture session, one to ten needles may be used at a time”. Depending on your health and symptoms, the number of needles will always vary between different individuals.  

The practitioner, depending on the style of their craft, may touch and stimulate the needles further either by hand or electrical stimulation to reinforce the effect.

When it comes to relieving muscle tension, the acupuncture needle can be applied for a few seconds only.  To stimulate relaxation, this can also be achieved in seconds. On the other hand, needles can be left in for as long as half an hour for other body parts. In China, it is common practice to leave in needles in certain areas of the body such as the ears or the scalp for 1 to 3 days. 

Only a professional and expert acupuncturist’s experience and understanding can determine how long the needles should be kept in for the therapeutically appropriate duration of time. The length of time needles should be kept in depends on various things, including your health, the season, and the acupuncture method used by your acupuncturist. For the best results, you should seek the advice of a renowned acupuncturist who can provide you with the proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/needle-acupuncture

https://www.aacp.org.uk/page/11/how-can-acupuncture-help-me

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