How Long It Takes to See the Result of Acupuncture?


There are two timelines to see the result of acupuncture depending on the goal of your treatment.

Short-Term Result on 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.

Step to a Lasting Effect on Pain

The instant pain relief from acupuncture often moves 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. The most important step to keep the acupuncture effect to be long-lasting is the consistency of sessions which ensures momentum of continuing pain relief. The rule of thumb, daily acupuncture treatments are for acute pain or injuries for at least 3 days. For chronic pain, alternating day sessions for 2-3 weeks would start a long-lasting pain relief.

Long-Term Effect on Improve Wellbeing

If your goal of acupuncture treatment is not only to reduce pain but for a state of wellbeing (improved energy level, preventing illness, and maintaining good immunity), you may notice the results may happen on different timelines as each feature varies as below.

-Restful Sleep

By the first or second visit, you may notice a better slept: feeling tired thus going to bed earlier and waking up feeling more refreshed. 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.

-Eating Better

It may take a couple of weeks for you to feel the change in eating. Been more hungry as well as the satisfaction of eating a regular meal without craving sugar or feeling 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.

-Circulating Well

It usually comes after a few weeks that 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.

-Elimination Properly

The following two aspects may start to happen in 2-3 weeks. 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.

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.

-Breathing Easy

It would happen within the first 2 visits that if you frequently sighed or were out of breath, you will notice more often you forget about breathing. The pattern of breathing gets more softly and deeply, and it is easier to do abdominal breathing if you pay attention to it.

-Calmer Emotions

It is the second most common sign I have noticed around in the third week of their 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.

-Hormonal Balance

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.

As ovulation happens on the alternating ovaries each month, It usually takes at least 3 months to compare the period and notice the difference.

Once these signs have appeared, congratulations! Acupuncture is helping you to improve your body constitution besides relieving symptoms. 4 to 6 weekly sessions are recommended for a lasting impact.

Besides receiving acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments, there are self-help tools 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. How to prepare for first acupuncture?


  1. Eddie H says:

    Extremely helpful and informative article. I was diagnosed about a month ago that I had cervical spondylosis and mild to moderate degenerative bones of the shoulder. I had acupuncture treatment for about 5-6 times in the past 4 weeks. The results seemed to fluctuate or inconclusive and now I fear i am at a cross road. The dilemma is whether acupuncture is right for me or the therapist and I are not a good fit.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Eddie, Thank you for your input. Please follow your gut feelings to see if you are comfortable to keep going with acupuncture or if there is an inner calling that leads you to reach out to another acupuncturist.

  2. Shree says:

    Is it normal to have 10 sessions of acupuncture for 10 consecutive days?
    My acupuncturist recommended this,but it just doesnt feel right…

  3. Em says:

    I been having neck issues for couple of months along dizziness and off balance after getting an acupuncture I feel my symptoms are flaring up again is this normal I have another session to go but scared my symptoms would get worse after the second session

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi EM, I think you are in the normal healing process. I don’t have a crystal ball to tell if you will not having worsen reactions again. However, I recommend you give a try for at least 3 sessions. So your body will know how it feels.

  4. Ed says:

    Attended 2 sessions and can feel a difference for the better

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *