ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why to Try Acupuncture or Acupressure

Updated on March 23, 2018
An ancient Chinese chart illustrating some of the meridians.
An ancient Chinese chart illustrating some of the meridians. | Source

Although acupuncture and acupressure aren’t fully understood by western medicine yet, they have provided countless people with relief without side effects. There are many reasons to give these types of therapy a try.

What Does Acupuncture Work For?

Western studies have backed up the use of acupuncture for pain disorders and nausea from chemotherapy. However, there have been surgeries successfully preformed while the patient has been anesthetized with acupuncture and only minimal medicine.

It’s also helped people with the following problems:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Emotional disorders like depression, anxiety, PTSD and others
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive problems
  • Stress management
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

This is by far not an all inclusive list.

I’ve known quite a few people who had seen marked improvement in asthma, mood problems and digestive issues from acupuncture. Personally, I’ve experienced the positive effects of using acupressure in treating stress, fatigue, and headaches.

People have sought acupuncture and acupressure treatment for centuries in the Far East. Although it’s still considered an alternative therapy in the west, it’s gained significant momentum as more success stories have made themselves known.

Acupuncture needles are so fine you should not feel them as they're used.
Acupuncture needles are so fine you should not feel them as they're used. | Source

How Does It Work?

Because this type of treatment originated in China, it works based off of Chinese medicine.

It’s believed that we each have what’s called qi, or chi, running through us all hours of the day. This chi can be considered life energy. It flows in an endless cycle through meridians throughout the body, and when those meridians get blocked, that’s when problems happen, like disease, pain and dysfunction.

Think of this system like a circuit and the chi as electricity. When the circuit is completely open, there’s no resistance to the electricity. However, if the circuit is broken, it no longer functions properly.

From a biological perspective, it's similar to blood flow. We all know what it's like to have our feet fall asleep when we sit in one position too long. When we move, suddenly they're getting the blood flow they need and feeling returns, often after a short bout of pins and needles. When a meridian is blocked, your practitioner will help remove the block and allow energy to flow freely again.

Acupuncture and acupressure also help restore balance when there's too much or too little qi in certain meridians. Disorders happen when our bodies are imbalanced.

What to Expect

When you go to your first appointment, you can expect it to last about an hour.

This is because the practitioner needs to get a better idea of where they need to concentrate and determine what kind of treatment plan is needed. In this initial interview, you can expect the following to be covered:

  • Sources of pain/discomfort
  • An examination of your tongue
  • Examination of facial coloring
  • Taking your pulse to measure its strength, rhythm and quality

The practitioner may also ask you for a medical history and list of things that you’re currently taking. It’s also possible that they will suggest herbal treatment as well.

Subsequent appointments should last about thirty minutes each.

Your therapist should let you know what part of your body they’ll be working on, and ideally why it will help your problem. Because meridians align with different organs, the part of your body worked on may not be directly over the problem area.

Once they begin, they may use between 5 and 20 needles. Because they’re so thin, the process should be painless, but sometimes there may be a deep ache when they reach the spot they need to be.

The therapist will most likely manipulate the needles by either gently tugging on them to make sure they’re in the right spot or twirling them to help break the block up. Sometimes gentle heat or weak electrical impulses will also be applied.

Don’t be afraid to ask any questions or let them know if you’re feeling any discomfort.

Once the needles are in, you will be asked to lie still and relax for between 10 and 20 minutes.

There should be no pain when they’re removed, and the needles should be discarded once used to prevent infection.

After the appointment, you may feel either relaxed or energized. Either sensation is completely normal.

Acupuncture vs. Acupressure

Needles are used
Fingers are usually used
Faster relief
Gradual relief, but also has benefit of massage
Need bare skin
Can work through clothing
Acupuncturists need to be TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) certification
Can be learned from a book/no certification needed
Multiple points are worked at once
One point is worked at a time

Although both techniques are based on the same principles, there are a few fundamental differences.

How Many Appointments Do You Need?

This is a question that your therapist will discuss with you. Because the energy system is so dynamic, it changes subtly every day.

However, when you’ve been suffering with a problem for a long time, the block may be harder to remove. When blocks are particularly bad, you will need more appointments to take care of the problem. Generally, 6 to 12 appointments is the normal treatment regimen in acupuncture.

Because you can learn acupressure, you can continue that type of treatment whenever you feel you need it. This is particularly useful when coping with high stress levels over a long period of time.

Side Effects

There are relatively few side effects to accupressure and accupuncture. If you're open with your practitioner and let them know if anything they do causes discomfort, there should be no pain during the treatment.

However, acupuncture has a few more side effects than acupressure, though, again, they're usually very minor.


When a point is particularly congested, sometimes a small bruise will form around where the needle had been inserted to loosen it up. Unless you bruise easily, these marks are usually feint and heal quickly. If they concern you, applying an ice pack once you get home will keep them from darkening further.

Mild Aching

After the appointment is finished, you may notice some minor aching in your hands or ankles, depending on where work was done. This is relatively common and usually fades within a day or two. This is caused when a point remains active after the appointment, which just means your qi is continuing to balance itself.

Practitioners often offer professional massage services to go along with acupuncture. This can include soothing facial massage as pictured.
Practitioners often offer professional massage services to go along with acupuncture. This can include soothing facial massage as pictured. | Source

My Acupuncture Story

Since first writing this article, I have been fortunate enough to find a local acupuncturist. We had known each other for years as friends, so when she opened her own practice, I knew I could trust her.

For my first appointment, we sat in her small office to discuss my symptoms and what I wanted the treatment to address. She took my pulse, looked at my tongue, and took down my medical history, including my medications.

Once we finished that, she had me undress while she stepped out and lie down on her massage table. She worked on my back, first massaging to loosen up some tension, and then felt along meridians to find points in need of attention. The needles didn't hurt at all, though I did have some muscle twitching, which is normal for me. Every massage therapist I've seen has noticed the same reaction, so it follows the same thing would happen with acupuncture.

That day, my left leg had been aching. When she placed a needle in a certain point, the ache vanished. I had never experienced pain disappearing like that without medication in my life before. I could also feel my sinuses clear and my lungs loosen when she addressed those points.

Once she had placed the needles, she let me rest for several minutes while soothing music played in the background. With my consent, he had also turned on an essential oil diffuser for the added benefit of aromatherapy.

When we finished, the asthma symptoms and sinus congestion that had been plaguing me was gone, and I was pain-free for the first time in weeks. That night, I slept better than I had in months.

Over the course of subsequent visits, my health continued to improve, though I did experience a little mild bruising and an achy wrist after sessions to address particularly stressful situations. In general, though, this is a treatment I would advise anyone to try.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)