How Long is a Session of Acupuncture?

Breeze Academy April 4, 2023
Acupuncture needles being inserted into person's back

A common question that people ask when interested in Acupuncture is “How long are Acupuncture sessions?”. It’s perfectly normal to want to know what to expect when trying a new treatment. In this article we aim to answer questions surrounding Acupuncture session length, what to expect and even what to wear to an appointment. 

So, how long is a session of Acupuncture? Acupuncture sessions generally last up to 60 minutes but will depend on the individual condition being treated. Your first Acupuncture session may take between 20-60 minutes. The practitioner will likely take information about your general health before conducting your first treatment. 

Read on to learn more about Acupuncture session lengths, what factors influence session lengths and a number of other things to be aware of before your first Acupuncture session.

How Long are Acupuncture Sessions?

A typical Acupuncture session will take up to 60 minutes, but this will largely depend on the condition being treated. Some conditions may require longer or less time than others. Furthermore, some conditions may require particular attention to detail (e.g. pregnancy Acupuncture) which may differ from the average session. Once inserted correctly, needles will usually remain in place for 15-20 minutes.

It also may become apparent that, as treatment progresses, session lengths vary. The practitioner will be constantly monitoring the health and wellbeing of their clients. As such, they may determine that the client no longer requires long or frequent Acupuncture sessions. Or, they may find that treatment isn’t working as expected and change strategy. This may also alter timeframes.

How Long is Your First Acupuncture Session?

Generally, an individual’s first Acupuncture session will take between . It usually  includes a health assessment prior to their first treatment. The practitioner will ask a number of health questions and may perform non-invasive examinations to determine suitability for the treatment and to gauge the severity of health concerns. 

What to Expect from an Acupuncture Session

During Acupuncture treatment, the practitioner inserts thin, sterile needles into the skin at specific points. These Acupuncture points are located all over the body and may be far removed from the area of concern.

Needle insertion may cause a little discomfort but is rarely painful. They may be inserted at different depths across the body. Clients sometimes report a dull aching sensation when the needles reach the correct depth. Once at the correct depth, the practitioner may then manipulate the needle. 

In most cases, the needles will then remain in place while the individual lies still and relaxes for around 15-20 minutes. Removing the needles usually does not cause pain or discomfort.

What to Do After an Acupuncture Session

Once the needles have been removed, many individuals report feeling relaxed. Others report feeling energised. It’s important to recognise that everyone responds differently to Acupuncture and that individuals should listen to their body. 

It is recommended that individuals eat healthy foods after an Acupuncture session, in particular antioxidant-rich foods. These include blueberries, blackberries, spinach, peppers, broccoli and green tea. Meanwhile, food and drinks such as processed and fried foods, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided. 

To promote the benefits of Acupuncture, it is also recommended to avoid TV and other screens for the rest of the day. This will help to elongate the relaxing benefits of Acupuncture for longer and encourages a good night's sleep. Further to this, keeping warm and avoiding extreme cold for 24 hours after a session may help to maximise benefits.

Read more about what to do and what to avoid after an Acupuncture session in our blog, What Food Should You Eat After Acupuncture? where we go into more detail about the do’s and don'ts of Acupuncture. 

What to Wear to an Acupuncture Session

The most important thing to consider when dressing for an Acupuncture session is that the practitioner will need easy access to various parts of the body. Therefore, loose-fitting clothing that can be moved around, pulled aside or rolled up is recommended. Clothing should also be easy to remove if required. Underwear is typically allowed to remain on, but avoid sports bras as the practitioner may need to move the straps for access. Socks will usually need to be removed. 

Individuals should bear in mind that they will be required to sit or lay still for a long period of time during treatment, therefore any clothing that remains on should be comfortable. Avoid anything that may dig into the body.

Makeup is typically allowed if individuals are not partaking in facial acupuncture. Likewise, perfumes and fragrances are usually not a problem. However, piercings and jewellery may need to be removed depending on the treatment area.

How Many Acupuncture Sessions are Needed?

At the beginning of treatment, it is usually recommended that individuals receive 1-2 sessions of Acupuncture per week for a minimum of 2-4 weeks. After this period, the practitioner will reassess the individual’s condition and schedule ongoing appointments accordingly.

Learn more about how many Acupuncture sessions are needed and how long individuals should wait between appointments in our recent blog

Final Thoughts

A typical Acupuncture session will last up to 60 minutes. Once properly inserted, individuals can expect needles to be in the body for around 15-20 minutes. The practitioner may also take a short amount of time to manipulate the needles, depending on individual conditions and treatment plans. 

If it is a client’s first session, they should also expect to spend time discussing their health, background and condition with the practitioner before proceeding with treatment.  

From here, an individual should expect to receive 1-2 sessions per week for a minimum of 2-4 weeks before seeing significant benefits. After this time, the practitioner will reassess appointment schedules to either continue with treatment or maintain the benefits. 

If you’re a healthcare professional interested in offering Acupuncture sessions to your clients, learn more about our Acupuncture courses online today. Our foundation level courses provide you with everything you need to safely and confidently practise Acupuncture, whilst our intermediate and advanced courses allow you to build on your existing knowledge and even specialise. 

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