Acupuncture: How Long Does it Take to Work?

You want relief from pain or injury-related symptoms, and you’re ready to give acupuncture a try.

But you’re wondering how long it will take to get the relief you desperately desire.

In this guide, we’ll answer your questions about how long it takes for acupuncture to work along with some helpful tips to aid in the process of healing.   

Table of Contents

how long until acupuncture works

How Long Does it Take Acupuncture to Work? 3 Things to Consider

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese method for relieving pain and other symptoms, can deliver various health benefits. But how long it takes to work is highly individual and depends on several factors.

Below we’ll consider three of the top factors that can determine how long before acupuncture takes effect:

  1. The severity of your injury
  2. Frequency of acupuncture sessions; and
  3. Supplemental healing modalities that may be used

#1: The Severity of Your Injury or Condition

Acupuncture helps facilitate the body’s natural ability to heal itself by:

  • Rebalancing the body
  • Releasing natural chemicals; and
  • Responding to pain and other symptoms

Severe injuries, like those from a car accident or other serious trauma, can take longer to heal. 

Additionally, severe injuries and pain may require more frequent sessions to experience optimal results.

#2: The Frequency of Your Sessions

Simply going to one acupuncture session isn’t going to deliver as much benefit as going for weekly sessions to treat an injury.

How frequent should acupuncture sessions be? Again, that determination is highly individual. 

A skilled acupuncturist can help determine the best frequency and duration of acupuncture treatment for your specific injury.

In general, though, if your pain level is high (10 out of 10), you can expect to come in more frequently until your pain level is diminished. Chronic issues may require more sessions that are spread apart.

The licensed and professional acupuncturists at Cascade Spine and Injury will complete a thorough assessment to develop a treatment plan customized for you and your needs.

#3: Whether Supplemental Healing Modalities Are Used

For many, integrating acupuncture with other treatments can help speed up the recovery process.

Depending on your injuries or pain symptoms …

  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Massage
  • Rehab therapy
  • Laser treatments; and
  • Ultrasound treatments

… can be joined with acupuncture to provide pain relief quicker than using acupuncture alone.

We provide all of these services at Cascade Spine and Injury, and our professionals are licensed and trained to provide excellent treatment and patient care. We will work together to customize a plan suited to your particular needs and symptoms.

how long does it take for acupuncture to work

How Soon Does Acupuncture Begin to Work?

There is no one straightforward answer to the question, “How long does acupuncture take to work?”  Some may feel relaxing sensations right away, while others may feel energized. Some people will experience relief from symptoms fairly quickly while it may take several treatments and weeks or months before experiencing alleviation of symptoms.

How Do You Know if Acupuncture Is Working?

If you’ve never had an acupuncture treatment, your biggest concern may be the needles. Since they are thin and solid, they may cause some feelings of tingling or dull ache. However, when you begin to feel sensations of numbness or heaviness, that usually means the acupuncture treatment is working.

Some other things you may experience that indicate that the treatment is effective include:

  • A change in your pain, such as in:
    • Severity
    • Location
    • Intensity
  • Improved mood
  • More energy
  • Improved sleep; and
  • Body awareness
how soon does acupuncture begin to work

How Many Acupuncture Sessions Does it Take to See Results?

The answer to this question depends on the severity of your injury or symptoms. Some patients may begin to experience relief after one to three treatments. And others may need more treatments, either scheduled close together or spread out.

And just because a patient begins seeing results, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their symptoms are gone or that their particular condition has been healed. 

It may, however, mean that their symptoms are improving or are less intense, allowing them to …

  • Sleep better
  • Move more easily; and
  • Experience less pain 

… with the hopes that the lessening of symptoms will continue with time.

How Long Does an Acupuncture Session Last?

The length of an acupuncture session depends on the number of areas that are being treated. In general, though, most acupuncture sessions last for about thirty minutes.

Additionally, the number of acupuncture sessions you may need will also depend on the severity of your injury or pain as well as your treatment goals.

What Can You Do to See Faster Results From Acupuncture?

If you’ve tried acupuncture and have gotten quick results, you can celebrate! But maybe you’ve tried acupuncture and have gotten slow relief, and you’re wondering what else you can do to maximize your acupuncture treatment results.

Whether you’ve had a great experience or are hoping to speed up results, the following tips can be helpful.

how fast does acupuncture work

Make Lifestyle Changes

Life can be hard. We’ve all experienced seasons of stress or times of extreme busyness, which can leave us exhausted, frantic, and anxious.

Making some simple, but not necessarily easy, lifestyle changes can improve your demeanor in general — and they can also aid in your desired acupuncture treatment results.

Consider making the following lifestyle changes to aid your body’s natural healing process:

  • Get more sleep.
  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Gauge activity after acupuncture treatments based on how you’re feeling.
  • Adjust your workstation to be more ergonomic.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take yoga classes.
  • Limit your screen time.
  • Allow your body time to rest, especially after an acupuncture treatment.
  • Meditate and practice stillness.
  • Breathe deeply. Set a timer throughout the day to remind yourself to stop and take several deep breaths.

Make Dietary Changes

The benefits of a healthy diet can’t be overstated. 

When you eat well, you tend to feel better and have more energy. Forming healthier eating habits can provide the body with the nutrients it needs to reduce inflammation and help you to recover from injuries more quickly.

Follow these diet tips to make the most of your acupuncture treatments:

  • Eat before you come to your acupuncture treatment.
  • Pay attention to your digestion before and after treatments and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Before a treatment, avoid:
    • Stimulants
    • Cold foods
    • Sugary foods
    • Spicy foods
    • Greasy foods
  • Limit inflammation-causing foods like:
    • Refined carbohydrates
    • Fried foods
    • Sodas and other sweetened beverages
    • And more
  • Hydrate by drinking lots of water. (This also helps to detox after acupuncture treatments.)
  • Avoid alcohol after treatments to keep your liver from having extra toxins to flush out.

Listen to Your Acupuncturist

Your acupuncturist is a professional with knowledge and support to share. Listen to their advice.

In addition to creating a treatment plan, an acupuncturist will also provide helpful pre-session and post-session instructions to ensure the best results. 

Beyond the advice given by your acupuncturist, you can make the most of your sessions by:

  • Arriving on time
  • Turning off your phone
  • Planning your day around your treatment session

How Chiropractic and Acupuncture Can Work Together to Relief Pain

Although chiropractic and acupuncture are different modalities, these non-invasive practices can be used together to experience relief from pain. Both practices are also geared at total-body healing while offering pain relief from injuries to particular parts of the body.

Since acupuncture can promote blood flow, receiving an acupuncture treatment before a chiropractic adjustment can loosen muscles making your chiropractic adjustment more effective and longer-lasting.

Along the same lines, if pain persists between chiropractic treatments, acupuncture can help reduce your pain between visits, providing more energy and refreshment to your body.

how long does it take for acupuncture to work

Schedule Your First Acupuncture Appointment at Cascade Spine & Injury Center Today

Are you experiencing chronic pain or pain from a recent injury? Are you ready for relief?

The licensed and professional acupuncturists at Cascade Spine and Injury are prepared to provide the personalized care you desire. 

Our Portland clinic provides acupuncture treatments to …

  • Reduce pain
  • Loosen tight muscles; and 
  • Speed up the body’s natural healing process

… and we treat conditions like:

If you’re nervous about your first acupuncture session, you can relax. Our acupuncturist will listen to you to create a customized treatment plan, make sure you are comfortable, and explain the process before beginning your session.

And for most patients, acupuncture treatments are covered by their insurance, and if you’ve been in a car accident, your treatment is covered by your PIP insurance.

To verify your insurance or to make an appointment, give us a call today.

Leave a Comment