Since the majority of folks seeking acupuncture do so for the treatment of pain I will take some time to carefully address this question. 

A general rule is that it takes approximately one month of treatment, one to two times per week, for every year you have been experiencing pain.

 So, let's say you have had pain for 1 year or less, you will require between 4 to 8 treatments to get that pain under control.  If you have only had pain for a few days or a week, you will likely feel better in 2-4 treatments but if the pain has lasted longer than a month you probably won't get optimal reduction or elimination of pain in less than 4 to 8 treatments.  

Let's say you have pain that has lasted longer than 1 year.  Most likely, if you have had pain for over a year you may have tried  physical therapy, massage, chiropractic, surgery or other, similar interventions with only minimal to no relief so that is why you are now considering acupuncture.  

You are probably worn out from being in pain and trying different treatments without getting good results and you just want to feel better NOW.   In the majority of cases, acupuncture will relieve your pain but it is not a miracle treatment.  With patience and a commitment to keeping to your acupuncture treatment plan you will be feeling better, but pain that has lasted longer than a year takes time to treat.

 Pain of over a year duration may take between 12 to 16 treatments to get under control.  Again, you will likely feel some positive changes earlier, let's say within 6 treatments, but significantly noticeable reduction or elimination of pain will take a commitment to at least 12 treatments. 

Once we achieve your pain relief goal, it is recommended to keep up maintenance visits every 4 to 6 weeks for the next 6 months to help keep you injury and pain free.  Maintenance treatment is especially important in cases involving overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis and achilles tendon issues.   For those with severe arthritis pain, or pain from other, chronic health conditions, it is recommended to extend maintenance treatments beyond the 6 month range.  "Tune up" visits every 4 months on an annual basis will keep you as pain free as possible and increase your quality of life!

Acupuncture is an effective, low risk option to treat pain, but for best results frequent treatments are recommended.  That is why I have a very reasonable fee schedule.

Please keep in mind that everyone is unique so this information only provides general guidelines in the treatment of pain.  Age, general health status and severity of pain all play a part in how quickly someone responds to treatment.  



Post anesthesia recovery, post operative pain and post operative opioid use are often associated with prolonged recovery times, mental status changes and less than optimal surgical outcomes. The risks of post operative opioid use and/or slow post anesthesia recovery are especially high in the elderly. Finding low risk, low cost solutions to increasing recovery time and improving surgical outcomes could be a keyfactor in increasing quality of life and lowering health care utilization for the millions of Americans who undergo surgical procedures.

Meta-analysis of studies on acupuncture to reduce post operative pain show a "significant reduction of post -operative pain and opioid consumption"

Additionally, a recent, randomized, controlled trial offers promising results for acupuncture reducing post-anesthesia recovery and mental status changes( ).

The challenge of health care in the 21st Century will be to develop cost effective strategies to improving patient outcomes. Acupuncture may play a vital role in this challenge.

As a Licensed Acupuncturist and former Medical Social Worker, I am well versed in collaborating with medical care teams. This makes me uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between Modern and Traditional Medicine in an integrative effort to enhance surgical recovery times and outcomes. Such services could be invaluable in acute care, ambulatory care and long-term care settings