How Do I Know Acupuncture Is Working?

How do I n=know acupuncture is working

Signs of acupuncture is working are simple: you are feeling better!

However, sometimes you may lose track or don’t know what to look for. The following are the most common signs indicate your acupuncture treatment is working.

Sign 1: Pain Relief

If you were in the acupuncture clinic for acute pain or sports injury, you may notice the pain relief almost instantly from the first treatment.

For chronic pain, it may take up to 2 or 3 sessions to notice the pain subside. Sometimes you notice your pain is moved to other areas of the body because when the worst pain is calmer, the secondary pain site will grab the attention.

If you have tried more than 2 weeks (4-6 sessions) and there have not been any noticeable improvements, most likely acupuncture won’t work for you.

Be aware that the pain relief from acupuncture often moves 3 steps forward and then 2 steps back. Regular acupuncture sessions are required to ensure momentum for a consistent pain relief treatment. The rule of thumb, daily acupuncture treatments are for acute pain or injuries. For chronic pain, alternating day sessions for 2-3 weeks would start a long-lasting pain relief.

While many people are astonished by how acupuncture can relieve their pain, they are even more surprised by the changes happening on the physical, emotional, and psychological levels.

Sign 2: Improved Sleep Pattern

The most common feedback I received from patients is that they have slept better after their first acupuncture: feeling tired thus going to bed earlier and waking up feeling more refreshed. But, it is also possible that you may still feel tired after 8+ hours of deep sleep. That is because your body would be switched to a supercharge mode which is similar to fast-charging your battery while having it turned off.

Sign 3: Eating Better

You may start feeling more hungry as well as enjoying your food better. Meanwhile, you may notice the satisfaction of eating a regular meal without craving sugar or feel bloated afterward. However, it is best if you don’t overeat as the reason your stomach is not within the capacity to take too much food.

Sign 4: Circulating Well

You start to feel warmer with your hands and feet and less cold and clammy. Somehow your body’s thermometer is better regulated which is less overheated with hot weather and tolerates the cold much easier. It may start in a subtle fashion which you would barely notice the change on a daily basis. But when you look back in a few weeks, you will notice those differences.

Sign 5: Elimination Properly

That includes two aspects. First, you start pooing well that it looks like a banana at least once a day and feel finished when the job is done. That is especially important for people with digestive issues, such as IBS, constipation, Cohn’s disease and diverticulosis. If you noticed these changes happened, be sure to tell your acupuncturist because these are the signs of your gut functioning properly again.

Second, you notice a more satisfying peeing that has adequate pressure for a strong urine stream, with a decent quantity. If you experienced frequent peeing and accidents of leaking before, it is a sense of being in control again.

Sign 6: Breathing Easy

If you frequently sighed or were out of breath before, you will notice more often you forget about breathing. The pattern of breathing getting more softly and deeply. Moreover, it is easier to do abdominal breathing if you pay attention to it.

Sign 7: A Sense of Emotional Wellbeing

It is the second most common sign I have noticed when patients start to respond to the treatment. The usual stress doesn’t get on your nerve as before, or you can let go much easier. In fact, many parents mentioned their kids are far less annoying or focusing on their job easier in the workplace…

In the beginning, the sense of wellbeing and experience of being at peace lasts for a few minutes or few hours only. Then, it gets longer as it continues with a consistent acupuncture energy reset.

Sign 8: Uneventful Menstruation

For women, another important sign of acupuncture is working is that there are fewer cramps before or during the period. There is also less PMS such as emotion swings and sugar cravings. Having a period for women becomes as uneventful as men grow their beards.

Once these signs have appeared, congratulations! Acupuncture is helping you to improve your body constitution besides relieving symptoms. If your goal of acupuncture treatment is not only to reduce pain but for staying a state of wellbeing (improved energy level, preventing illness, and maintain good immunity), 4 to 6 weekly sessions are recommended.

Besides receiving acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments, there are tools that can be done by yourself to regain these healthy signs. The Energy Book offers simple and practical self-help steps to help you to live healthily with full of energy.

You may also like to find out:

  1. What to do after acupuncture?
  2. What to expect after acupuncture?
  3. Hong long it takes to see the result of acupuncture?
  4. How to prepare for first acupuncture?


  1. Christina Fava says:

    I recently went for acupuncture
    fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue.
    The first session when it was over I felt
    Light headed and a little dizzy and a hard time standing at first. I did notice it did help with my brain fog but not my pain.
    The second session again light headed and dizzy afterward this time I cried during the session and was very sad for the next day or two and felt a relapse in symptoms similar to the flu but no flu. I’m not sure if I’m acupuncture you feel worse before feeling better?? I’m not sure if it’s normal to feel worse at first or if these are detox symptoms.
    Any advice you have would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you

    Christina Fava

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Christina, Not all people tried acupuncture will have worsen reactions, but it does happen. It would be the best give at least 2-3 weeks to see if you feeling better after ” the dust settle down”, specially with chronic issues as yours. Please talk to your acupuncturist about it.

      • Stacy says:

        This website is so helpful and just what i was looking for. So much rich experience and information being shared! Thank you so very much!

        At my 4th session I felt anxious after dozing off after the needles were in and had weird dreams when I dozed off. 3rd session I fell asleep as well and woke up feeling warm and anxious. What is that all about?

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Hi Stacy, You may have come across a few Q&A leads on a similar topic. The release of anxiety happens after you have had a deep relaxation experience, because you are more openly connected with your inner self now. If there are layers of anxiety that need to be cleaned, it is a good opportunity to face it and sit with it and release it.

    • Aby says:

      Hey, I had the exact same reaction – was quite dizzy and it increased my anxiety. Did you continue your sessions and did it help?

    • Natasja Rossing says:

      Hey Christina!
      Im severe with cfs/me and fibro.
      I went to my first appointment yesterday and I honestly feel like im dying. It’s like the worst flu ever… I felt enormous relief reading your comment… can I ask how you feel today and how long the detox was for you.

  2. Mia says:

    Hi, thank you for the explanation. I had acupuncture in my ovary/uterus area for fertility, and experienced pain in that area after my first acupuncture for 3 days, but it gets better after following treatments, and no pain after 4th treatment. What is happened with my body? The acupuncturist said it is normal, because the 1st treatment will open the energy flow. Maybe you can explain more. Thank you. 🙂

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Mia, Let’s try a natural phenomenon to explain the pain relief you have experienced. In north China, come river freeze when the temperature drops low enough. In the spring, when the icy surface thaw and cracking, it creates loud noise that can be heard from miles away. There is a lot of energy released from thawing. Thus the reaction happens when your energy flow starts…
      Hope it makes some sense to you.

    • Alyssa says:

      I was wondering if it is normal after your first session for asthma and allergies to have increased mucus production like a stuff nose and wet cough he told me my body environment is cold and damp I also had a horrible nights sleep. Just want to make sure this is normal body detoxification p.m. I felt amazing after the session but when I got home couldn’t really sit down

  3. Kitty M says:

    Western medicine did not help with my deep tissue arthritis in the muscle right above my right hip. Have had six sessions….starting to feel a bit better

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