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Offered by Jessica Ahmed, Licensed Acupuncturist

Acupuncture offers safe, effective and natural treatment of many ailments, but people are often leery of trying it for the first time because they don’t know what to expect. Here are answers to several common acupuncture questions, and please feel free to be in touch with additional inquiries via phone (listed below), or email me at

Q: What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is a system of health care, developed in China approximately 3000 years ago, which uses very fine, sterile, stainless steel needles to affect change in the body and alleviate problematic symptoms.

Q: How does it work?
A: There are a number of ways to explain how acupuncture works, including that it: relaxes muscles and connective tissue/fascia; reduces inflammation; stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good, pain-killing neurotransmitters; improves blood circulation; impacts the lymphatic and immune systems; stimulates pain inhibitory nerve fibers.

Q: What happens during a session?
A: After filling out a health history form, we’ll investigate the uniqueness of each person’s health complaints, and then check the radial wrist pulse and look at the both sides of the tongue for diagnostic information. I’ll insert the needles, and then let the person relax for a period of time on a comfortable table. The whole process takes around an hour. I may incorporate additional therapies, such as Chinese herbs; moxibustion, a heat therapy; and cupping, the use of suction cups on tight muscles in order to increase blood flow to the area and reduce pain.

Q: Does it hurt?
A: People tend to be afraid of needles. Someone once asked me if acupuncture needles are like sewing needles, which would be very painful! The needles I use are more like a hair. In addition to being extremely thin, they are also filiform, which means they come to a smooth point rather than a jagged edge, the latter of which would be necessary to cut the skin for a shot or blood draw. Acupuncture is so comfortable that sometimes new patients are surprised I have inserted the needles, since they might not even feel them.

Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: In general, the longer you have had a particular condition, the longer it will take to treat. For example, a person who has had chronic back pain for 20 years will likely need several sessions to feel a difference, as well as periodic maintenance treatments, whereas someone who pulled a muscle a week ago may only need one or two treatments for complete relief. Most people feel an immediate sense of relaxation, with treatments having a cumulative effect over time.

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Brighton Acupuncture