Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


Acupuncture involves stimulation of anatomical locations on the skin by a variety of techniques. These include acupuncture, electric acupuncture and embed method (herb seeds, needles etc.). The most studied mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points employs penetration of the skin by small metallic needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture can be used to treat conditions such as back, neck, facial, shoulder and muscle pain, sciatica, arthritis and headaches. Other conditions like abdominal, pelvic and menstrual pain, nerve pain and scar pain may also respond to acupuncture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the acupuncture needles sterile?

Acupuncturists use pre-sterilised, individually packaged disposable needles, thus ensuring that there is no transmission of communicable diseases between patients.

Does the acupuncturist only insert needles?

No. Most practitioners are also trained to use a number of adjunctive therapies. These typically include moxibustion cupping, electro-acupuncture and embed method.

How deep do the needles penetrate?

The depth of needle penetration depends on the nature of the problem, the underlying anatomy of the points selected, the patient's built, age and constitution. In general, needles are inserted 1/4 to 1-inch deep.

What should I do before acupuncture treatment?

You should take note of the following:
  • Maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection.
  • Avoid wearing jewellery.
  • Wear loose clothing. (Women should not wear one-piece dresses and tight stockings)
  • Avoid treatment when excessively fatigued, hungry or emotionally upset.

What should I do during acupuncture treatment?

You should:
  • Relax and maintain a comfortable position.
  • Do not move or change your body position suddenly.
  • If you feel dizzy, nauseous or have difficulty breathing during acupuncture treatment, inform your nurse or doctor immediately. This is known as “needle shock” and is usually due to anxiety.
  • Let your practitioner know if you feel pain or any uncomfortable sensations as the needle are placed so that proper adjustments can be made.

Does acupuncture hurt?

People experience acupuncture differently. Most feel only minimal pain as the needles are placed; others feel no pain. Once the needles are in position, they should not be painful. If a needle is causing discomfort, let the doctor know and he or she will make adjustments to the needle.

After the needles are placed, you may feel tingling, warmth, dull ache, numbness or heaviness, either locally or in a part of the body that is distant from the needle. The acupuncture needles are sometimes connected to an electrical stimulator, which should cause a comfortable tapping or buzzing sensation. Some people notice a generalised feeling of relaxation or well-being.

What are the chances that acupuncture can help me?

Acupuncture has helped many people who have not responded to conventional medical or surgical treatment. However, there is a tremendous difference in the response to acupuncture treatment for individual patients.

Some people may notice an immediate improvement; others feel a change a day or two after treatment. Some people, who initially thought that they had no response, noticed a delayed improvement several days after treatment. However, there are patients who do not benefit from acupuncture.

How many treatments are required and how long is each treatment?

The frequency and length of each treatment depends on the nature, severity and duration of your condition. In general, complex or chronic pain conditions will require more treatment sessions. Acute problems, such as sprains, usually require fewer visits.

You may be given 5 to 10 treatments, with a rest period in between. In general, you will be given 30-minute treatments twice a week.