How long does it take for acupuncture to work?

Many people are wondering how fast acupuncture works, how long it would be effective, etc. This article will focus on answering these five questions related to time and frequency. 

How long does it take for acupuncture to work?

Short answer: you should feel improvement after 2-3 sessions. 

If you don’t feel any improvement, do chat with your practitioner. They will walk you through the reason and find a solution for you. 

Long answer: 


Here are three factors which often play a big role in how fast acupuncture works.


1. How long have you been unwell? 

Does your lower back pain bother you for years? Or you simply sprained your ankle this morning? 

Needless to say. The longer you have been unwell, the more time you have to give your body to heal.

This naturally leads to the next factor. 


2. How fast do you get help?

The sooner you see your acupuncturist or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, the sooner you get relief. 

If you are visiting them for chronic illness, it takes time for acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine to bring back the harmony in your body.


3. How often do you visit your acupuncturist?

Also, if you only visit your acupuncturist once a week, it would definitely take longer to feel improvement.  

How fast acupuncture works

How many sessions would you need for acupuncture to work?

Some people feel immediate relief after the first acupuncture session. Some don’t feel much of a difference at the first session. 

The most general rule of thumb is you feel some improvement after 2-3 sessions. Please refer to the answer to how long does it take for acupuncture to work for more details. 


How often do you need to get acupuncture? 

It would mostly depend on your level of illness.

Sickness is 9 out of 10

Aim at visiting the acupuncturist everyday. If your time does not allow, do at least 3-4 times a week.

Sickness is 5 out of 10 and above

Aim at visiting 2-4 times a week.

Sickness is 4 out of 10 and below 

Aim at 1-2 times a week

Because everyone is different, the general rule of thumb is a reference. Do chat with your acupuncturist and practitioner. 

Find a balance between frequent visits and consistency. Even if you can only do 1 or 2 times a week, you will still see improvements. 

Balance your acupuncture treatment and all your responsibility. Don’t stress out if you can’t visit as often as you want. Check out the how to prolong results session for some tips.

how often do you get acupuncture

How long do acupuncture results last?

The short answer is “It depends.” 

Some patients might experience improvement the same day of the treatment and feel the ease of symptoms even one or two days after the treatment. 

When continuing treatments consistently for a while, most patients would experience ease of symptoms lasting a week or even longer.   

The length of time you notice an improvement depends on 

  • The severity of your unwellness
  • Whether it is a chronic illness
  • How fast your get help
  • Your own diet and lifestyle

As you can see, it is almost the same factor as how long does it take for acupuncture to work. 

You might notice we mention diet and lifestyle here. As Traditional Chinese Medicine sees/treats the whole person, not only the symptoms. 

If you look for long term wellbeing and health in traditional chinese medicine’s perspective, lifestyle changes play a huge role and we will have a high level discussion at the following question. 

4 ways to prolong acupuncture results

How to prolong my acupuncture results? 

You can definitely prolong your acupuncture results. You can start with the easiest step and get to bigger changes.

  • Rest well

The easiest step is to rest well. Acupuncture is to help your body cure itself. Give your body more resources to heal. The resource is as simple as to rest well. 

Depending on your unwellness, strenuous workout might not help back pain problems. Change it up to more gentle exercise, walking, Qi-gong, etc. 

Also, good night sleep helps your body’s immunity. Getting enough sleep at night will definitely benefit your recovery. 

  • Try herbal remedies

Herbal remedies and acupuncture go hand in hand in Traditional Chinese medicine practice. Ask your acupuncturist what herbal remedies would help your conditions. 

  • Change your diet

You are what you eat. Chinese medicine sees food as part of the wellness practice. 

Although it might be intimidating to change your entire diet, start with one or two things. Ask your acupuncturist for suggestions. 

  • Lifestyle change

Chinese philosophy emphasizes moderation. It’s in every aspect of life, diet, exercise, how to handle stress, relationships, etc.

To get the full benefits of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, you might consider to change diet and exercise. 

No need to feel overwhelming. A thousand steps start one. You are on the right track to be healthier! 

healing is a journey