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Acupuncture is an ancient treatment art that originated in China over 5000 years ago. Today’s professional acupuncture methods are grounded in science and used as treatments for a wide variety of conditions. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles at specific points on the body, which may help stimulate the release of natural pain relieving chemicals. Acupuncture is an alternative treatment for pain associated with sciatica, headaches, low back pain, neck pain, muscle tension, and a host of other causes.

You should receive acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist. Acupuncture in a licensed setting is very safe. Only sterile needles are used. The needles are disposed of after each use. Typically, about 3 to 15 needles are used during a treatment.
The acupuncture needles are inserted into specific locations on the body. There are over 2000 acupuncture points on the body that link 12 main and 8 secondary pathways. The pathways are called meridians. The meridians are believed to conduct energy between the skin and internal organs.
You will be placed in a relaxed position for your acupuncture treatment. Your acupuncturist will disinfect your skin before inserting a needle. The needles will be inserted in the appropriate meridians.
You may feel a mild prick when the needle is inserted. The needles are very fine and do not need to be inserted deeply to be effective. The needles may be warmed, twirled, or stimulated to enhance the treatment benefits. Acupuncture needles are usually left in for about 20 to 40 minutes. Most people find acupuncture to be a painless and positive experience.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit