What to Expect After Acupuncture


Is your symptoms worse after acupuncture? Do you feel pain worse after acupuncture? Do you have flu-like detox symptoms after acupuncture?

When you are searching and reading this article means you may just have had your acupuncture – likely the first one ever – and be confused with changes in your symptoms after acupuncture. I have shortlisted the most common reactions after acupuncture, these patterns happen on patients over and over again from my 20+ years of practice.

Immediate Reactions After Acupuncture (the first 24-48 hours)

1. Relaxation:

You may feel deeply relaxed which lasts for hours or even for a day. In such a state of relaxation, your concentration may be downgraded: following conversations or focusing in meetings become difficult, or simply can’t keep awake. As modern medical researchers have noticed a higher amount of endorphins (the body’s natural morphine in the brain) is secreted after the acupuncture treatment, which may explain why you may experience a natural high after acupuncture.  The best thing you can do in this situation is rest – take it easy and having a nap afterward or go to bed early. Y0ur body heals faster when you spend more time in a deep sleep state.

2. Emotions:

Some patients would become more emotionally sensitive for a short period of time. I have seen patients cried for hours without any reason; grieving for something that happened long ago or become irritated and can’t tolerate others. If you experiencing these reactions, congrats. You are emptying your emotional bucket that is timely and healthy. We all have an emotion container to bottle up our negative emotions from everyday stress. When the container is full, even the smallest drop of stress can make it overflow, that is why disproportionate emotional reactions occur at the slightest triggers. For many, they put heavy covers on the top of this emotion container, to hide their emotions from everyone. During the acupuncture session, this cover is melting away and emotions are streaming out. It is healthy to let the emotions set free from time to time. You might use this opportunity to start an in-depth emotional conversation with family or friends, or pause your life and find a quiet corner to absorb your emotions. After this period of emotional liberation -usually two or three days – you will feel lighter and more content with your life.

3. Pain Relief: 

Acupuncture is known for its instant pain relief. If you were treating acute pain or injuries,  you may experience long-lasting pain relief after acupuncture. However, if you were treating chronic pain, you may notice the pain easing during the treatment session, but the pain comes back after a few hours or even return with revenge.

In the Chinese medicine perspective, we look at energy flow within the body as the water flow in the pipelines in a building (when we know it is there, but we can’t see it). When there is a flood in the bathroom, we know there is a blockage in the drainage. Similarly, when there is pain, the Chinese doctor sees a blockage of energy flow. Chronic pain, to Chinese medicine, is a blocked drainage system, and pipes are rusted in the body. Acupuncture works as plumper, apply pressure at a certain point to flush out the blockage, so the flow is restored and the pain has gone. However, because the pain (blockage) has been there for a long time, the inner layer of the pipe is rusted and attached much rubbish to it. When the flow restores, the rubbish loosens and starts to move and block the flow again sometime later. By then, the pain reoccurs as a worse pain or even moves to a “new” location. So as the acupuncture sessions are persistent the flushing work will continue until all the rubbish and rust are cleaned in the meridians.

Thus, if the pain worse after acupuncture, do not panic or worry, but take some sensible steps to help calm the pain, like resting, apply red flower oil locally, or take some painkillers if needed. It is important for the patient to give the doctor feedback on how long the pain relief was last and any changes in the pattern or site of the pain.

4. Elimination:

Some patients experience detox symptoms like more urination after the acupuncture session. Some have told me that they can’t stop going for a pee, up to ten times within one afternoon, without drinking more water. As you would expect, their bloating and water retention would be relieved significantly. Meanwhile, some may spot changes in their bowel movement: more frequent, increased volume, or stronger odour. Both signs of good eliminations indicate the body elevates the level of metabolism, or in the Chinese term, a better energy flow in kidney and spleen meridians.

Long-term Reactions After Acupuncture (2 – 4 weeks)

Running nose, sore throat and some cold symptoms may appear during the second or third week of acupuncture treatment. In Chinese medicine, an unresolved cold or flu was the underlying cause of many health problems, like poor circulation, stiff neck and back, and migraine. Running nose, fever, and body ache is the natural response of body fighting with a cold or flu attack, like casualties and bombarded border during the war that defence force fight the enemy from invasion. When the drug is used improperly, symptoms do suppress but one’s health goes down, like a cease-fire at war by the confiscation of weapons from the soldiers, and let the enemy loots the country. Once acupuncture treatment enhanced the immunity as if the army is armed ready to fight the invader again, cold and flu symptoms reappear. These symptoms usually last for a week; some Chinese herbs might be used for faster healing.

Meanwhile, some patients may notice reappearing of many other symptoms, which bothered them previously but have forgotten for sometimes. It means the increased body energy expelling many underlying ailments. For example, reoccur of appendicitis or hemorrhoids that happened years ago. While the body is in a reversing process of healing, it often notices that the recurred symptoms are not causing as strong discomfort as a normal attack. Reassessment of patients’ condition and modify treatment plans would be required. It is important to let the practitioner know the previous history of illness may just happen to be remembered again.

You may also like to find out:

  1. What to do after acupuncture?
  2. How do I know acupuncture is working?
  3. How long it takes to see the result of acupuncture?
  4. How does acupuncture work?

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  1. Gale says:

    I recently had acupuncture for lower back pain. The five needles was placed in my right ear. Right away I noticed pain relief in my lower back, and my mood increased the same of the accunpunture, I was able to stand straight up without help. I did have problems communicating, frequent ruination, I did runny nose and scratchy throat but I did feel my body fighting off the cold so it cold on last a few hours. Overall the acupuncture was worth it and I agree with articles, it’s pretty accurate about what am going through and been through.

  2. Rachael Reeves says:

    I had acupuncture to treat migraine. and felt very hot in the night and a migraine came for two days after the treatment. I’m hoping this will improve with more treatments.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Rachael, Thank you for sharing your experience. Indeed sometime it can flare up before getting better. I have witnessed many patients had the improvement of migraine by reduced intensity and frequency with a course of acupuncture treatments. All the best.

      • Neeka Wilson says:

        Hi I’ve been having acupuncture every week for month now every time after treatment I get flu like symptoms i.e. sniffle nose, sore ears, stuffy head
        for about 3 days at the most I also have cupping first before acupuncture and Chinese therapist has put me on Chinese herbal hormone repair, I have a low immune system keep getting ear infection flu colds etc and have GAD general anxiety all due to having contracted tetnus disease over 12 months ago hence my low immunity and anxiety my last treatment I got sore throat and it hurt to swallow and heart elevated are all these normal effects of acupuncture? I do feel much better within my self and so far have avoided antibiotics normally on antibiotics every month due to getting infections so fingers crossed it helping fix my immunity and nervous system and anxiety also how many treatments would I need before my issues are healed?

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Hi Neeka, The combination of acupuncture, Cupping and herbal treatment support immunity very well in my clinical practice. Glad to hear you have noticed the improvement already. I usually suggest my patients that patient and persistence are the key to the recovery of chronic issues, such as the low immunity or run down. Meanwhile, the energy book offers some easy-to-apply tips to restore your energy. Let me know if it helps.

          • Aziza says:

            Hello dear, I am taking my mom to a acupuncture, she has vertigo, it happened 2 years ago , she had 3 treatments, now her symptoms became worse , I am worried that it will make it even worse, would you please give me some suggestions if I should continue taking her to the acupuncture clinic ?

          • Qiang Chen says:

            Hi Aziza, I think you shoulder call your acupuncturist and explain what has happened to your mom. If your practitioner is expecting this reaction, maybe you could give it a try for up to 5 sessions. If your acupuncturist sounds confused or insists there is nothing wrong with her/his treatment protocol, you are better off finding someone who is better experienced.
            regards, Qiang

        • Ash says:

          Hi, just curious if you have tried eliminating all dairy products?
          I have heard this worked wonders in ending re-occuring ear infections etc.

      • Ginette says:

        My husband started electro-acupuncture 4 weeks ago. It has been great in stopping hip pain and tingling in his legs that he has been feeling for years.

        On the other hand, a few hours after his treatment, he starts shaking as if he has hypothermia and his temperature rises from 97.6 to 102 and lasts for about 3 to 4 hours. This then stops and he is fine until his next treatment and it starts again. He has mentioned this to his practitioner who was very surprised and said he has never heard of this happening. He said he would research this.

        Are these symptoms normal side effects of the treatment? We are considering stopping the treatments because this is very concerning. Thank you.

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Hi Ginette, When patients of mine had similar reactions, I used the analogy of welting ice cubes:” When the ice is melting, there is more stream and water droplets appear…” I would suggest give body a chance for at least 3-4 sessions of acupuncture to “melt the inner coldness”. Yet, closely monitor his reactions, call the acupuncturist ASAP if you are concerned.

          • Ginette says:

            Thank you for your response. He has had 6 treatments so far and has the symptoms the same day or the following day after each treatment. His temperature bounces from 97.6 to 100.4. Today it jumped again and his last treatment was 5 days ago. Although the shaking and sweating seem to have stopped . He us very concerned about the temperature changes. He is booked for another treatment in two days and we are hoping these symptoms don’t repeat themselves. Do we try again or give it a break for a few weeks?

          • Qiang Chen says:

            Hi Ginette, Please discuss with your acupuncturist and listen to the inner calling. Both options are fine as far as you/your husband feel comfortable with the decision.

      • Nouf says:


        Had a full back area acupuncture to tackle stress, back and neck pain, boost immunity and to help with anxiety. I Noticed that couple of hours later, small pimples started appearing on my face . They are now visible on my face between the eyebrows and slightly above my right jaw line. I believe certain areas can indicate what is happening internally at an organ level. How should this be tackled? Is there anything i should do to let it calm.

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Hi Nouf, That is great that you noticed the skin changes in your body spontaneously following the acupuncture session. You are also aware there are reflex areas for your inner energy balance. Most of the time, the best line is action is doing nothing. Actually, doing nothing is doing something (e.g let your body have the time and space to release and heal). As far as you are comfortable with the changes, it will clean out the quickest as you don’t add an additional layer of resistance.

    • Kathy says:

      Is accupuncture good for dropfoot

  3. lynn says:

    I have had my first acupuncture sessions yesterday and the day before .. and now I feel more pain than ever.. I’m really nervous!
    is this really normal? I can barely move my neck and arm!

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Lyn, Only realised your post here today. Your pain most likely have settled down within the first 48 hours. Let me know it was the case?
      Cheers. Chen

      • Mary Higgins says:

        I have suffered from Upper Back Pain for 15 years after an injury to my Rhomboid Muscle. Pain is only on the right hand side of my upper back. I have tried every thing including trial Stimulator which didn’t work.
        No medication works even Opiods.
        I have had 2 Sessions of Accupuncture a week apart. I had some relief while it was being done but the pain came back worse than ever. Is this Normal? Should I continue or give up. ?How many should you have before ?you decide its not going to work. I also had cupping at the same time. Please reply to my query as soon as possible. Injury was torn right side Rhomboid Muscle after stretching out and catching bar after having a race with my son in the pool

        Sensation goes up my neck only on right side and into.my face on.left hand side it makes my face shake and teeth chatter. I have had MRI and nothing found. Thanks for help
        Mary Higgins
        Please reply and give me your thoughts.

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Hi Mary, Thank you for providing the details. Worsening pain is a normal reaction in the first few sessions. Can you let your acupuncturist know your reactions? You should give it a try at least 5-6 sessions to see if it works for you.

          • Linda Melton says:

            I have been having acupuncture for overactive bladder (7 treatments so far, 5 more to go). It seemed to really help me after 3 or 4 treatments,. Now I seem to be regressing. I also noticed a large red bruise on my abdomen above the area where the needles are inserted. Is this common?

          • Qiang Chen says:

            Hi Linda, Congratulation for your positive changes after 3-4 session. the red Bruise is an uncommon in acupuncture, but it does happen to people. Please let your acupuncturist to be aware of the bruise.

  4. Arvand says:

    I recently started acupuncture sessions because of having a sever pain in lower back and lumbar, after the first session I felt a little better, however, there is a part in my lower back when encounters with the needle, an ugly nerve pain (like sting bite feeling) surges that lasts for hours after the session, the sensitiveness of this area against needle is so ugly that in my second session (also my last session at the moment) has made me kind of felt unsure about the treatment…
    Not sure if these types of sting bite feeling in my lower back is a part of my treatment process or not…

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Arvand, Hope you are better by now. (PS I just realised your post today).
      I did receive many patients feedback about those highly sensitive points during their pain treatments. It is a very useful insight to pass on to your acupuncturist. It could be a key to unlock all your pain. Let me know if acupuncture already helped you.

  5. Susie says:

    I had acupucture today. I had it last Monday & felt tired & slept better all week. Today, I felt sick @ my stomach & so tired. The reason for my going is that I have constant tingling in the back of my knee down to the bottom of my left foot. I am praying that we can fix this with acupucture. I have been journaling my everyday feelings overall since beginning this treatment.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Susie, Hope you are better by now. Those fatigue/relaxation with better sleep is a very good sign of you have got systematic improvement from acupuncture. Send all my positive vibe for your recovery.

    • Kristen Blankenship says:

      I have chronic pain, inflammation and 3 herniated discs in my neck. I am also being check for autoimmune disease as well. I had my first appointment yesterday and my pain worsen at night it was awful and i was so irritable. I finally went to sleep but didnt sleep well. Today i do fell better. I read people with chronic pain sometimes their symptoms worsen at first. Just curious if i should proceed?

      • Qiang Chen says:

        Hi Kristen, Congratulations, you have noticed certain changes by your first session. This worsening pain is the most common reactions when we working with chronic pain because it turns the chronic pain into the acute state. I recommend to proceed for at least 2 weeks and judge by yourself again.

    • Louise says:

      A friend recommended that I visit Chenzen to help with my sore hands, I finally listened and booked time to receive help. What a wonderful, relaxing and rejuvenating experience. The treatment has helped me wake with more energy making my days more productive and less stressful. I highly recommend Chenzen and the wonderful drug free treatment.

  6. E says:

    I had a treatment today for a very swollen knee. Needles were placed around my one knee and in the shins and ankles of both legs. Also near the elbows in both arms. Now I have a very heavy dense pressure/soreness in my mid to upper back also the front of my throat under my chin. Is this just the meridian trying to “unclog my pipes” or was something possibly hurt during the session?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi E, You’ve got an insightful understanding of energy work. As acupuncture works in a holistic manner, the site without needling got activated is a good sign of systematic healing. I would suggest just take it easy for the first 24-48 hours. Please pass on this information to your acupuncturist. It could be a useful for your future treatment strategy.

  7. How the tingling last

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Barbara, The tingling may last from a few hours to a couple of days, depends on your condition and the treatment offered. If it is got too intense, it is worth to give your acupuncturist a call and discuss it.

    • Bridget says:

      Hello! I had acupuncture about 3 weeks ago and one of the needles she inserted gave me a very sharp burning pain. She pulled it out… but now the slightest bump is excruciating…just wearing closthes over it hurts so bad. Has anyone experienced this? Or know what happened?

      • Qiang Chen says:

        Hi Barbara, It looks like one of the nerves may have been directly stimulated by the needle and you have some residue effect afterward. It could be happened in acupuncture practice, but on very rare occasions. It usually takes a weeks to months for the nerve to heal itself. You may benefit from calling your acupuncturist and asking for suggestion to speed up the healing of nerve.

  8. Lynn says:

    I have had Glandular Fever for 16 weeks now. I had 1st acupuncture last Saturday & felt relaxed, that night I had pain & soreness in my liver area. The following morning my water works greatly increased & had more energy for 2 days. On the 3rd day I was back to sore throat, feeling cold & aches & pains. Thur I had 2nd acupuncture & was so fatigued, a bit anxious & today white spots have reappeared on my tonsils again (part of my ongoing problem) Does acupuncture bring symptoms out more at first? Is this a sign it is working? Is it eliminating toxins? Any advice much appreciated, thanks in advance.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Lynn, Congratulations! You have had exactly what I meant of the positive acupuncture reaction. It works like when flushing the blocked drainage pipe, and the water turned to be dirtier before it cleaned up. Keep going for a few weeks and then look back to see how it has helped you.

      • Lynn says:

        Thank you I had my 3rd session on Tues night. Yesterday my neck glands were up again & I had a horrendous headache all afternoon & into the night then I couldn’t sleep. Is this a normal reaction? Is this likely to help my Glandular Fever? Thank you

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Acupuncture helped many people with glandular fever, but it is not for everyone. It requires patience and resilience to experience the benefits. Please take at least 3-4 weeks to try out.

    • Joyce Bangera says:

      Hi Doctor. I had accupressure done on my neck for cervical vertigo and fibroids. After treatment I noticed my gums were very painful and swollen. Is this something you have come across?

      • Qiang Chen says:

        Hi Joyce, That is a new reaction for me too. Please give a 48 hours period to see if it settles down. Keep me posted about it. Regards, Chen

  9. Bal says:

    Hi I had my first accupuncture session 2 weeks ago and 2nd yesterday for severe sciatica and right lower back with right thigh pain and some numbness.
    After both times I suffered awful nausea and vomitting with stomach pains.
    After first session 2 weeks ago I ended up in hospital as was vomitting bile and complete dehydration.
    Please could you help me understand what is happening and if accupuncture is no good for me.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Sorry to hear that you suffered so much. I didn’t come across people has such a violent reaction from acupuncture in my 28 years practice. Please call your acupuncturist ASAP and discuss your reactions and your next steps of care. Getting to and from the acupuncture clinic itself may taxing your body too much.

  10. Amy Varela says:

    I had accupuncture yesterday, and about 2 hours after, my back felt like I had a bad sunburn. The sensation stopped suddenly after an hour. Now today, about 24 hours after my session, my back is burning again. It feels normal to the touch, but like a bad sunburn. Is this something with which you are familiar?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Amy, The altered sensation phenomenon does occur after acupuncture in my practice. It is worth to share it with your acupuncturist. All the best.

    • Basil Sunny says:

      Hi Amy,

      Good Day, How is your Back now,
      Any improvements..??

      I also tried accupuncture last week for my lower back.
      It was OK for the rest of Day, From the next day morning its been hurting like much worse than before…
      Its been one week+ Already..

  11. Steph T says:

    Hi I had my first acupuncture session on June 13th for chronic pain. I have nerve pain in my body. I felt horrible that day but the next day felt much better. I discontinued for 3 weeks as my father in law passed away. My pain in those 3 weeks were very minimal. I started acupuncture again on July 18th and have had 4 sessions 2x a week so far. I skipped today bc I just feel so sore and my pain is much worse and I was afraid to go. Like I’ve been flairing up. Is this normal for chronic pain? He has been doing acupuncture for 60 years and I am combining with herbal medicine too. Please help!

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Steph, Hope you are better again today. The flair up like what you have experienced is very important information for your acupuncturist to know. Can you call hime or let him to know? It would help your acupuncturist to form a better treatment protocol that suits you.

  12. Lindsay Nemeth says:

    Hi – I had facial acupuncture for the first time yesterday. Almost immediately afterwards I noticed that my vision was slightly blurry, not as crisp and I have slight photosensitivity. She did a lot of work on the lymphs in my jawline (as I grind my teeth). Is this normal or something I should get looked at? Thanks!

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Lindsay, Most mild adverse reactions are gone within 24-48 hours. If you still experience the discomfort after 24 hours, it is worth to discuss with your acupuncturist. Hope you are radiate with joy by now.

      • Jeff Droker says:

        my husband had his 4th treatment for Chronic on going. lower back pain. He had no after effects the first two times. The 3rd time his back was in severe pain. This 4th one he could barely get off the office table and came home in severe back pain worse than the before and ever, and it also then jumped to the other side as you have mentioned. He’s a bit better today than he was two days ago for the back. He also experienced the similar flu symptoms this time with peeing non stop for three days and diarrhea all day and at night. Headaches as well. For the 3rd eve tho headaches are bad still . He had shared his history of his stroke that he had 8 years ago with his acupuncture doc. As of now she provided NO advice or ANY feedback. HE ALSO thot he was gonna die during the first night after treatment. I filled him in on the common after effects from your site and my research. His doc gave him NO expectations of what to expect following treatment. So this was a shock after nothing happening after the first two times. His doc is useless. Shuld he continue considering his stroke history and now bad headaches? I told him it’s chronic pain and his reactions have also occurred to others. His doc just seems uninformed and very unhelpful. Not sure if he shuld seek out medical help at this point.

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Hi Jeff, I would suggest for him to see a GP to be sure he is in a stable condition. I am sorry to hear that there was lacking communication and feedback from his changes. Maybe it is worth for you to explore other therapies or another acupuncturist.

  13. Angie says:

    I’ve been doing acupuncture for 3 weeks for depression, anxiety and chronic neck pain. After every session I notice pain in my body where I didn’t previously have pain before. Extreme leg/hip pain the 1st time and lots of muscle twitching. The second time also leg pain, more anxiety/nervous system issues (feeling off balance and lightheaded for almost the whole week after). The third week a lot of joint clicking and popping throughout my body. I’m talking I crack and pop all over now whereas maybe I would pop in a few places like my leg and hips but it’s so noticeable and is making me nervous to continue. How many more session should I endure so I am “over the healing crisis hump”?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Angie, If you were my patient and I heard your feedbacks, I would modify the acupuncture treatment protocol thus you will not continue to experience such continue reactions. Can you talk to your acupuncturist on your next visit and explain all your reactions? Adverse reactions do occur, but we as acupuncturists are not intend to let you suffering through.
      With best regards, Chen

    • Aickar says:

      Same with my experience. I also had panic attacks after i got the first acupuncture session

  14. Tiffany says:

    Hi everyone. I just started session two weeks ago. This week I had two sessions. One 30 minute one and the next day a chiropractic and accupuncture session for 75 mins together. I felt extremely nauseous during the session and started to panic a bit. I tried to sleep during the session but kept being woken up by feelings of nausea and anxiety.
    I’ve been suffering with a lot of gut issues and inflammation in general. After the session I felt great. But then I went home and had dinner and took some activated charcoal to help detox from a CT scan with contrasts a couple days prior ( have not felt great since the scan stomach wise 🙁
    I felt awful during the night. Woken up with the feeling of wanting to throw up, nausea, and then woke up drenched in sweat ?

    Is this common? I have no idea what is going on?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Tiffany, I can only remember one person had extremely nauseous during an acupuncture session in 28 years of my practice, which was caused by food poisoning. Have you discussed it with your acupuncturist during or right after the session? I recommend calling your acupuncturist to address your gut issue. Best luck!

  15. Veronica Nabbosa says:

    Dear Dr. QC, I have had chronic back pain for more than 20 years that goes on and off. The last 2 years have been so challenging because much as I lived a very active life (5 days /week of some sort of exercise eg walking to work – 5KM, hiking, kick boxing cardio, elastic bands exercise or playing bad minton. I got a variety to avoid monotony and boredom, So I keep switching them depending on the mood), I have had on and off pain in the knees very frequently, on the rhomboids for almost a year, as soon as it left, I had pain in the left side of the neck for almost a month, (each condition managed by a professional physiotherapist in western medicine). As soon as the pain in the left side of the neck felt like leaving, I had new severe pain in the right side of the neck striking through deep in my ear. I thought it was due to a deep root canal that I had a few months ago but my dentist took an x-ray and found nothing wrong. I took pain killers for almost 2 weeks due to severe pain in the ear ( feeling like a contraction). I went to see my GP about it who found nothing wrong but referred me to an ENT who checked everything and found nothing wrong but assured me that it was a pressing on the nerve in the neck area ( i hadn’t told him about the history of my pain , so I believed him). He suggested acupuncture. I am seeing a western doctor trained in neurology and alternative medicine, including accupuncture. Yesterday, wwas my first session (out of 10 which will be taken weekly), I told him everything about my pain history. After the session, I felt super sleepy and went to bed at 7:00 pm after resisting for an hour ( I usually go to bed at 9 0r 10 pm). I woke up a bit at around 1 before falling asleep again to wake up at 6:30 am. I don’t have any pain anywhere except I have so much pain in the lower back now which wasn’t there before. Is this normal?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Veronica, I came cross many patients have their secondary/tertiary pain sites activated after their primary pain was getting better. It almost happening daily in my clinic. Don’t worry, just let your acupuncturist to know the changes in pain. It would be a part of the your recovery process. All the best.

  16. sharon davis says:

    Hi i had my second acupuncture session for plantar fascitis and my well being yesterday.
    THE next day I woke up feeling sick and bottom of my legs aching and head ache I spend that day in bed sweating and drained of energy .
    is this normal as I didn’t get anything symptoms first session

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Sharon, sorry to hear that you have had such a strong reaction. It could be possible to have these reactions at the second session or any sessions afterwards. Can you discuss with your acupuncturist about it? It would give him/her new insight which pressure points/acupuncture techniques works the best for you.

      • Marg Maycock says:

        After 30 sessions of Neuro Acapuncture, my lower back pain and scoliosis are NO different Could it be that I am not a good candidate for Acapuncture or Chiropractic?

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Hi Marg, I would not working on a patient who have not notice changes/improvements after 3-6 sessions. I would suggest you to try some other therapies.

  17. Paul Blackburn says:

    I have just had acupuncture for anxiety which was causing me to be breathless I feel a bit better this morning but how long before I start to feel normal.Thanks

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Paul, The more you are trusting in the process the fast you will heal. However, adversity event does occur. Please talk to your acupuncturist if you continue feel breathless ASAP.

  18. Malavika237 says:

    I started acupuncture 2 weeks ago for acne on both cheeks. The first week the redness had subsided but the second week I have more breakout with lot of pus on my left cheek. Could this be a side effect ?there is definitely an improvement in my knee pain and itching on my forearms. I hope that my skin will improve.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Malavika, Congratulation on your improvements. As a general rule, there is always a bit bumpy on your road to recovery. Be patient and be resilient, you will see more positive changes as the body always heal.

  19. Hayley says:

    Hello — I’ve had acupuncture 2x now, a month apart, and after each time I vomited for an extended period, the first time a few hours after the session the second time around 5am the next day. I didn’t seem to be sick otherwise either time. It is for extreme lower back pain after 2 surgeries in my neck and lower back this year. I seem to be vomiting mostly stomach acid, liquid, both times. It is VERY unpleasant. Is (or how is) the acupuncture triggering this and should I continue?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Hayley, It could happen if you have had extreme pain in the first place. The key point for you to pay attention to is whether you feeling better (more relaxed/reduced pain) after the reaction. If so, you are on the right path. If you didn’t experience any improvement, can you to discuss with your acupuncturist about your reactions? Don’t wait for another month to go by, call him/her today. Have a zen day!

  20. Cali says:

    Recently started acupuncture sessions back up after about 3 yrs. I’ve noticed after the sessions I’m filled with raging anger and extreme irritability! It’s almost scary! Good to know this is a good sign. Whew, my poor spouse those first 48-72 hrs after acupuncture LOL.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Cali, I am glad to hear that you are aware of the reactions. Wish your spouse well for me, I knew what is been going through. 😉

      • Ryan says:

        Hi there, I had my second session of acupuncture to get my menstrual cycle back – after the first session I was energized but had a lot of headaches, but this time I have no energy or motivation and two days after have been sneezing all day and feel very run down, and am extremely irritable and emotional- Is this usual? To have such intense reactions? Thank you!

        • Qiang Chen says:

          Hi Ryan, The high and low energy reactions happen to many patients of mine. As far as you don’t put additional worries on top of it, it will pass much faster. All the Best!

    • Ashley Kleiber says:

      I just had acupuncture done lastnight for allergies. About mid morning today I started to notice lots of sinus drainage down my throat, running nose, ears seem a little plugged. I can breathe nice and deep through my nose. My sinuses seem all clear, probably because it all drained. Is that normal?

      • Qiang Chen says:

        Hi Ashley, I hope you are enjoy the benefit of acupuncture for allergy by now. The reaction you experience is a common reaction to many people.

  21. Kamila says:

    Hi, I started to go on acupuncture due to my chronic problems with UTI, cold feets and stomach problems. After my first visit, I felt great but in two days I started to have chills and being kinda tired. In 4 days I went for the second time and right after I felt very tired and the chills have been even worse that I am extremely cold all day. Do you think it is normal or connected with the acupuncture? Thanks a lot!

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Congratulations! Kamila. My understanding of your reaction as the inner ice cube (coldness) is melting and fast. I had one patient had the same reaction and he was wearing a ski jacket during the summer after an acupuncture session. Please wrap up, stay warm and talk to your acupuncturist about it.

  22. Anita swami says:

    I needed an opinion about my acupuncture symptoms because my acupuncturist didn’t have any answers. I had an acupuncture session in the beginning of September and noticed I was going to the bathroom in the middle of the night (which I never do). I did that for a week and then I had a full 24 hours of urinating every 15 minutes. Anytime I drank anything it just came out within 15 minutes. I got scared so a doctor thought I had a UTI and was put on antibiotics. When I had my next session I told the acupuncturist about what happened and she said the same thing that I most likely had a UTI. After I had my next session I had the urinating only for 24 hours and was fine the next couple of days. Then it happened again without a session and it lasted for four days then I was okay for 3 days and now I am currently going through the same thing again. I feel really weak and dehydrated. My question is are these possible detox symptoms and would they last this long even though my last session was almost 3 weeks ago?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Anita, What your experienced symptoms didn’t sound like an acupuncture detox reaction to me, as it usually doesn’t last this long time. It seems both the GP and acupuncturist are right about UTI. Please visit your GP again to help your condition.

  23. Tazneem says:

    Hi there, I had my fourth session of acupuncture last Wednesday. When the acupuncturist removed the needles I felt a pressure like he was pressing down hard. My back was sore and burning when I left. It is still sore on the parts where he inserted the needle. One has become a bruise bump. And they all give me a dull ache when I lie down.
    What do I do.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Tazneem, When my patients experience a bruise bump from the needling, I would ask them just give it a rest and don’t rub them or apply heat. It usually disappears in 3-7 days. In rare cases, the bruise mark may last more than 2 weeks on patients who have poor circulation. Please call your acupuncturist if you are experiencing a strong pain or discomfort.

      • Tazneem says:

        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.
        My acupuncturist advised me to apply heat and arnica oil and rest. He said if my pain is from acupuncture it will correct itself with time.
        I stopped applying heat.
        I also had myself checked out by my GP who gave me anti inflammatory and muscle relaxer to help me sleep as the aches was keeping me up at night.
        I feel abit better. But there are two spots where I can still feel where the needle went in, it’s as if it’s injured.
        My GP advised to stop acupuncture until my back feels better and rest as much as I can for a few weeks .
        I was really enjoying the acupuncture experience it is my first time and I felt so empowered by how my body was self healing. And now I am so afraid of what’s going to happen to me.

  24. Baileigh Skinner says:

    I had acupuncture 2 days ago for inflammation in my rib cage, and after the pain felt somewhat better, but now two days later the pain in my ribs almost feels worse and even back in different spots. Is this normal?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Baileigh, I have seen reactions similar to yours many times in the past. As I don’t know the condition, I can’t suggest it is normal or not normal. However, the best option is to talk to your acupuncturist, so you are on the safe side.

  25. Sophie says:

    Hi had my first acupuncture session on Saturday for IBS diarrhea prone. Felt okay on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, woke up with a heavy head, nausea and vomiting feeling. Is this normal? Scared to try another session.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Sophie, Based on the information you provide, your best option is to talk to your acupuncturist. For your information, acupuncture helps patients who suffer from nausea or dizziness.

  26. Gabrielle Kamson says:

    I just had my third treatment and have been doing it each week. i had a different person doing it this time and I noticed when putting in the needles she did each at a time, slow while massaging the area beforehand which i liked more than the previous times. However i noticed unlike my other visits she did the treatment in two so I flipped over for my back and then she also did the my knees. I started this due to my aching shoulders/back and knee. After I did feel relaxed however I could feel more pain than the two previous appointments. When I woke up the next morning the pain was so much worse especially in regards to my neck where i felt like I had pulled something or had just done a really intense workout. My neck is so sore and tight and feels like internally there is ice in it like when you have bad circulation in your knees or hands. I also have noticed that my inner butt/tailbone has been hurting after the treatments and I’m unsure of why. Does this all sound normal?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Gabrielle, Hope you have feeling well by now with the new method you experienced. It almost sounds like your entire spine/body is going through some readjustment process. My approach would be let the dust settle down in a few days and see how the body feels.

  27. Colleen says:

    Hi! I had acupuncture for my back, as I have scoliosis and the muscle on my left side is.quite swollen and gets sore from time to time. I went for the first time last week with no issues after. I had my second session this morning and have a lot of soreness on that left side where the needs were, even more painful than it usually is. Should I be concerned?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Colleen, Have you noticed that you are much better now? The worsen reaction usually lasts not more than 48 hours. All the best with your journey to better health.

  28. Tina says:

    I’ve been having accupuncture three times a week for last two weeks For chronic tissue, nerve pain left side waist downwards and skin sensativity. Started 4 years ago got lot lot worse. That’s why I turned to accupuncture . Im 65 Really scared as all symptoms have come back with avengance. She keeps reassuring me all will be well. Need second opinion. Help

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Tina, my suggestion is don’t worry too much about the worse reactions. It usually manageable and at the worst you can use some pain killers to ease it. As acupuncture only activate your own healing energy, thus will do no harm to the body. You maybe can pace out a little and to see if your body feels better.

  29. Andrea says:

    This site was very helpful. I would like to be a part of it.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Andrea, Thank you for your positive feedback. You are and always be an important part of the community of healing energy field.

  30. Adity says:

    Hello, I had few acupuncture sessions and my right rib cage is hurting a lot since. Is it normal? I had a gall bladder removal few years ago

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Adity, That is exactly what I mentioned in the article. Sometime old health issues can resume once your body’s energy improved with acupuncture and ready to heal the old issue. Discuss with your acupuncturist about this change and allow the body to heal.

  31. Lyndsay says:

    I had acupuncture and cupping for the first time last Wednesday. Today is Sunday and I have been in loads of pain since Thursday, with headaches every day and neck pain that is intolerable. I can’t go about my day normally. Is this normal to be so long after the session? Do I go again? My next appointment is on Friday.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Lyndsay, There are patients could experience some pain reaction for more than 48 hours, but rare and not more painful than what you can take. I would suggest you call your acupuncturist and discuss your reactions and to see if he is expecting you to have these reactions.

  32. Malina says:

    Hi there,

    I had my 2nd accupuncture yesterday to treat anxiety/PMS. During my session I had a needle in my elbow and it felt very uncomfortable. It was hurting but I was thinking it was just working. I was fine after the session, but this morning I woke up with a strong pain in my elbow where I can barely move my arm. Is this normal and what does this point do?

    Thanks so much!

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Malina, Hope you are free to move your elbow by now. Can you talk to your acupuncturist about the reaction on your elbow on your next visit? Your practitioner should modify the technique to reduce the intensity of reaction.

  33. Louie says:


    I don’t actually know if the neck pain im feeling can be called a chronic pain, but its bothering me for quite sometime already, last 2018 I went to a chiropractor and I was able to complete all my sessions, but then too bad this pandemic happened and i was not able to go back anymore, thankfully I found this clinic near us where they offer acupuncture and tomorrow will be my 4th time already and my acupuncturist is telling me that I need to come more often cause the pain im feeling in neck is kinda hard to treat im also done with my wet cupping, also she advised me to use infusion as well while my acupuncture is being done so that it will help my system get the nourishment it needs and I really hope that everything will get better, im still feeling a lot of pain and discomfort on my neck but im still hopeful that acupuncture can treat me and make this pain go away

  34. Kate says:

    Hello. I’ve now had 3 acupuncture sessions for extreme chronic fatigue (I’ve been housebound for 5 years with it). After each session for 3 nights afterwards I’m waking up at about 3 – 4 am feeling alert & slightly hyper with an energy feeling and then can’t get back to sleep. Why is this happening every time? Luckily it only lasts for 3 nights each time after acupuncture then stops. So far no improvement in my fatigue, but I’m carrying on with my sessions. Thank you.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Kate, It is common that interrupted sleep on the first few nights after acupuncture. As chronic fatigue takes a long time to develop, to heal it also takes time. Be prepared to work with acupuncture for at least 10 visits to find out how it can help you is what I have told many of my patients with chronic fatigue. Keep going and all the best.

  35. Michelle says:

    I had acupuncture and needles were placed from my ear and along my jaw. I had a dental appointment after where I had a dental X-ray. There were some not so common feature showing on the X-ray (area that seems denser) where the needles were placed. Could this be related?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Can you show your X-ray to your acupuncturist? It would be an interesting case for your practitioner. So far, I haven’t come across any X-ray findings like that.

  36. Laura says:

    I just found this website. sooo helpful! thank you so much for your responses. I think I offended my acupuncturist. He thinks I’m feeling nervous about his treatments because I went one time and had an intense reaction. (had raw nerves and still more shoulder pain) even though I was actually feeling pretty good when I went in. (i do have a chronic condition in my shoulders because I have scoliosis with tight ribs and aching shoulders) I didn’t get any work in the rib region…THAT makes me nervous. )So I went in on thursday and he says I’m waiting too long to see him again (monday) Is this true? I’m still in pain though. it’s Saturday today. he wanted me to come in today. shouldn’t I wait until this reaction settles down. this pain response could only have been from the treatment because I haven’t been doing any physical work in these last few days. do you suggest getting work in the rib region?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Laura, It is very common acupuncture needles are not placed on sites of problems. That is called distant methods. Patients may require to use acupuncture daily or even twice daily for acute and intense pain in my clinic. Please discuss your concerns with your acupuncturist, and trust your body heals.

  37. Colleen mcgrath says:

    Hi I’ve been going for acupuncture treatments three times a week for three weeks I had covid last March and never recovered I have a low grade temp , brain fog and shortness of breath My Epstein Barr virus has been reactivated also The last two times I went to acupuncture my fever is higher It normally runs 99.6 but it’s been 100.3 Is this part of detoxing ? And how long will it last ? Please let me know thanks Colleen

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Colleen, That is what I meant of the return of the old issues. The timeline varies according to each person’s energy level. But, one thing can be certain that you are going through a wholistic healing process, where your overall’s health constitution will be better after this process is over. Be patient and be open, and please keep your acupuncturist to be informed of all the changes happened.

  38. Amanda says:

    Just had my first acupuncture/cupping experience yesterday. I loved it! He targeted some blood issues tied to previous HELLP Syndrome and DVT, anxiety, and chronic pelvic pain. Today I do feel “lighter” but also have noticed dark around my eyes and have a little sore throat. Guessing toxins just making their way out?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Good understanding. Just take it easy for a couple of days, Amanda. You will be feeling more relaxed and calm.

  39. Amanda says:

    Now 36 hours in and feel extremely tired. I just woke up and this is uncharacteristic of me. I feel run down like I’m getting sick. Is this normal?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Yes, it is normal. Please listen to your body and allow a few days to sleep in and don’t put yourself too hard, thus you will be recover a lot faster.

  40. Lisa says:

    I’ve been getting acupuncture for a couple months now and it’s definitely been such a great healing experience for me. I do have one question….the last couple times while the needles are in and I’m relaxing…my hands and feet get EXTREMELY COLD. As soon as she takes the needles out and few minutes go by they heat right back up to normal. Is this normal? Is my blood moving to other areas of the body that need healing?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Lisa, sometime when you go into deep relaxation, the body can be into the hibernating mode. Can you ask your acupuncturist to cover you really well during the session and using a heat lamp on your feet if possible?

  41. Vickey says:

    Qiang Chen, I just started acupuncture treatments and your comments on the various questions being submitted have been very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to reply to everyone.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Thank you Vickey, for taking your time to drop a line for the appreciation. I glad be able to help.

  42. Wendi says:

    I had my first treatment yesterday to help with bulging disc in my neck, which may be causing minor head tremors. Also minor lower back pain. Moxibustion was done on back of my neck and several places in arms, lower legs and hands. Felt fine after treatment, and actually like I could somehow breathe deeper. But this afternoon I suddenly felt like I was hit by a Mac truck. I got very dizzy, tired, cold, slightly nauseous and extremely anxious. As if everything was foggy or I was dreaming & out of it. The area on my neck at the needle site is sore and my tremors are double what they were. I’ve had this feeling all night and can’t seem to shake it. Is this normal?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Wendi, Hope you are feeling better by now. It does happen to some of my patients who have the worse reactions for the first 24 hours. If it has lasted more than 2 days, maybe you can contact your acupuncturist to discuss your reactions? All the best!

  43. Bianca says:

    I am 27 years old and I have had rheumatoid arthritis for a year and a half. I am in my 7th acupuncture session, but I have not yet seen a reduction in swelling and inflammation in the joints. After how many sessions do visible results appear?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Bianca, With a chronic issue I would suggest patients try for 10 sessions. If by then, you still don’t notice any changes, maybe acupuncture is not the right treatment for your condition. Have you combined it with diet change and Chinese herbs to maximise the benefit?

  44. Anu says:

    Hi, thank you for the info provided in this website. QC, I had my acupuncture for the last 20 days as I am suffering with ovulation pain and excess spleen Qi. But yesterday my acupuncturist told me to give a gap of one month for the next session. She told me that my body will self heal during this gap between next session. I just want to know more info about what happens during this one month gap.

    Thank you

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Anu,
      Sometimes by doing nothing your body is doing something! Give your body some time to rest and allow it to reset itself is required for the healing. During this period, your body/energy will do what is needed while your brain may not understand/know what is happening.
      Enjoy the time of rest.

  45. Samantha c says:

    My first session ever was one week ago. I didn’t feel anything at all for three days then on the fourth day it felt like I got hit by a bus and it’s getting progressively worst. I get so car sick(I’m prone to it but not this bad) that I throw up violently twice already from a 20 minutes straight car ride. My throw up has rotten black chunks that is not what I have ate. It looks like food that’s been rotting in my tummy for years. I feel extremely nauseated all day it’s so bad I have to go to sleep. I feel my body detoxing. I crave food that’s good for me and junk food doesn’t even look appealing. I cry out of nowhere and get extreme feelings of God /or joy that I want to cry or happiness. It’s very bizarre. I can’t wait to see continuous use

  46. Sam says:

    Hi Qiang.
    I started acupuncture las week with two sessions. For lower back pain. I was told I had herniated disc by my primary doctor about 2 years ago. Now the pain came back but it’s only when I do surten movements o feel a pinch and can’t stand straight up. Well it was so much discomfort even sitting that I decided to start acupuncture. I also wanna treat my anxiety. Well after the first session I was able to dot down with no pain. After the second session my hips started to hurt the discomfort radiated to my hip and side lower back both sides. Also I did notice
    I’ve been wanting to cry but I can’t. I feel sore from
    My spine and sides my hip bone. Is it
    Part Of healing process o don’t want to get discourage i respect and trust the process since I feel I also have emotions to release due to my Anxiety but the Pain worries me that it won’t go away. After my daughter I started with all this she’s now 3.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Sam, congratulations. You are in the good zone of healing now. Be prepared that once your primary pain subsides, the secondary pain could appear. Healing takes time and courage to go through the discomfort which is surfacing.

      • Crystal M Reule says:

        Love reading about other people’s experiences.
        I have COPD, Cardio Myothapy, Anxiety, Headaches, and 3 herniated disks.
        It’s Saturday and my 1st accupuncture appt. was last Tuesday. It went well.
        The first 3 nights horrible headache and back pain, thought I was dying. It’s a little better now but the shortness of breath that I have (even with oxygen) is causing major anxiety. I have ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO ENERGY OR MOTIVATION. Will these issues ever go away? My next appt is next Tues

  47. Ashley says:

    Had my first acupuncture session and I had a couple of loose BM, have been extremely thirsty and my emotions are all over the place. I went specifically for anxiety support, am post partum and have grief related to experiencing miscarriage. My sleep has also been interrupted. I am just over 48 hours post treatment. Is this normal?! Thank you for all your precious responses to questions

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Ashley, These symptoms are commonly experienced with people who try for the first time. Hope you are now into a better phase of the healing.

  48. Maggie says:

    I had my first session yesterday for stress, anxiety, muscle tension. The procedure lastet over an hour. I felt pretty good leaving the office, a bit lighter and rested.
    I was tossing and turning at night, and woke up quite tired and sore today. Have been feeling fatigued all day, low energy, leg ache and just tired in general.
    Some places (not ones touched by needles) feel achey but, the general feeling is after some sort of demanding physical exercise, although the lightness is still there which i guess it’s a good thing.
    Anyway, wondering if that’s a typical response to feel drained after experimenting with needles for the very first time ? And what can i do to feel better next time?

  49. Valerie Gomez says:

    I get acupuncture often, sometimes I notice during the session if I close my eyes I get a bad spinning if I listen to meditation music the spinning gets really bad and I will get an anxiety attack during the session. If i open my eyes the spinning goes away and with deep breathing so does the anxious feeling. Afterwards I feel sleepy and sometimes sick for a couple days after. Do you know why this could be happening?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Valerie, I don’t know why it happens, but I would suggest laying on a higher pillow while on your treatment table to see if it works. Keep me posted.

  50. Terri says:

    I had my third acupuncture session today. I am being treated to help boost my immune system, I was diagnosed and treated for colon cancer, then diagnosed with lymphoma. I’m doing all I can to improve my over all health to keep the cancer away. My first session was painless, the second one was painful at certain sights and this one had some spots that were very painful with deep soreness that went away within a hour after the treatment. Is it normal that sometimes you feel the needles more with each treatment and / or they are sore or painful? Thank you very much.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Terri, Indeed it happens when some pressure points are more sensitive than others. I highly recommend to continue your treatment for immunity boost, as it has been a useful method to increase energy and the sense of wellbeing. All the Best with your journey in good health!

  51. Jane O says:

    Is it ok to go to an amusement park in between treatments? My teen daughter is getting treatment for a stubborn tooth that won’t grow in. We plan on going to an amusement park with some crazy rides (bumper cars, roller coasters, go karts etc) about 4 days after and 3 days before her next treatment. Would any jolting/bumping be detrimental to her treatment?

  52. Monica says:

    Had acupuncture yesterday for the first time. During the session I FELT like a needle was in my eyes (of course it was not) my eyes kept watering til around 2 am. So 11 hours and now feel dry as well dry mouth now back to watering
    I also was having panic attacks thinking I’m going blind. Also my feet were inflamed. I felt high anxiety and frightened. I also become very hopeless about the way our politicians are becoming very authoritarian and very afraid of vaccine pushing. (I am treating epilepsy) which causes panic attack

    I also concluded I was going to change my diet and avoid sugar and processed foods because I feel it has messed with this process.

    Basically have become very paranoid and irritable.
    I am afraid to be
    Played for a fool and worried about the treatments.

    Am I normal I was mostly afraid of hurting my eyes

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Monica, In the journey of healing for yourself and this world, stay calm and accept your panic state, thus will create a better energy frequency to heal yourself and the environment you are in. Acupuncture is quite safe when practised by a professional acupuncturist.
      All the best.

  53. Fervy says:


    My Father had an acupuncture for 2 days, the first day, he doesn’t felt anything weird but right after the second day, he felt weak and his body seems to shiver on the inside. On the next day, the symptoms got worst and now on the 4th day after his last session, he complained to have difficulty in breathing and urinating, is it normal?


    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Fervy, Can you talk to your acupuncturist about your father’s reactions at the earliest possible? If the breathing and urine difficulty persists, please call the emergency.

      • Fervy Mae Aujero says:

        Thank you Cheng, the breathing has improved as well as the times of urine, but the weakness still persists.

  54. Asenla Jamir says:


    I am suffering from Herniated Discs, Mild Stenosis and Sciatic nerve pain on my right leg for almost 2 months now.

    Started with accupunture this week, completed 6 sessions.

    I mostly had pain on my right lower back which goes down to my right leg but now I have started feeling pain on my left side of my lower back and leg as well, not that intense but yeah it’s painful.
    And today I am feeling very weak and pains are more heightened.
    Is it normal to feel the pain going to the left leg as well? Can it be inflammation? Are the heightened pains a part of the treatment?

    Please answer I am really worried.
    I am in pain and bed-ridden for 2 months now.

    Thank you!

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Asenla, It is common that once the primary pain site is calmer and the secondary pain resurfaces. It is so important for your acupuncturist aware of these changes. Maybe give some rest of acupuncture stimulation after a period of daily sessions will help.
      Don’t worry. The journey of healing sometimes takes time.

  55. Eva says:

    I have a question to ask.
    I went for accupuncture first time and had many needles inserted through my body. One needle that was in my abdominal area hit the capillary and that area started to bleed when the needle was removed, but stopped soon after. Now a week later and I still have a very painful bruise in that area. Is that normal?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Yes. Sometimes there is a bruise on the needling site, however, its pain usually calms down in a couple of days. Try to apply some heat packs and talk to your acupuncturist if you are concerned.

  56. Danniella says:

    Hi. I’ve been going to acupuncture for 2 months now once a week. First session I had an emotional response for 3 days. I go weekly. Then when that subsided I felt amazing. Now, I have insomnia. I usually sleep well and easily. The week before last he said he would try something “new” not sure why, and that is the first time I had insomnia all week. When I saw him again he fixed it because I slept well all week. This Saturday I had my session again and now I’m awake 12;45 am (not normal for me at all) and it’s starting to make me panic. I’m really frustrated and want to stop all together. Is this normal!? Also he never used to put them in my feet and now 3x he has and during the week my feet kill me. I am being treated for knee pain. At first it was for low energy and irregular period and digestion. All of it improved. Ever since he tried “new” it’s been what feels like a down ward spiral.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Danniella, I trust you continue to improve overall with your energy and menstruation and digestion. Sometimes, your acupuncturist would use some new points/methods as your condition is evolving. You can notice the changes/reactions with it. It is most important to let your acupuncturist aware of these changes, but do not put worry or fear on the top of these reactions. All the Best!

  57. Annie Wyatt says:

    I had my first acupuncture session today for hiatus hernia. I was having trouble taking a deep breath. He worked on my stomach, liver and spleen. Also my sinuses. I felt really good today but now I feel worse than I have every felt. My stomach is bloated and there are unusual sensations in my chest. I have a feeling that it’s just my body adjusting and that I am busy healing. Maybe like releasing a blocked pipe. I feel some prickly sensations in my abdomen and my upper back is also feeling a bit sore. I assume it is normal.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Annie, I like your analogy of releasing a blocked pipe. Indeed. I think you got it!

    • Alison Stevens says:

      I finished my 3rd lot of acupuncture yesterday.
      For the past two weeks I have not stopped crying .I have no patience with anybody or anything .
      I have suffered chronic.diarrhoea since the start of my acupuncture and a massive exacerbation of Crohn’s.
      And to be honest I feel like I don’t belong on this planet.
      I have noticed strange smells from my body terrible headaches and ringing in my ears.
      I am on the verge of stopping my further appointments.
      Feedback please.

      • Qiang Chen says:

        Hi Alison, Sorry to hear that you are experience these symptoms while having acupuncture. Please let your acupuncturist to know of these changes at your next visit, they are able to modify the treatment protocol to address these issues. If these symptoms are persist, you may stop your acupuncture treatment and consult with your GP.

  58. Kerry Van Holland says:

    Hi I just wondered about your thoughts on moxa use? I had my second Acupuncture treatment yesterday and this morning I felt very sick and as if I need to vomit something off my chest. I had a lay down instead and slept for a further 4 hours.
    The first treatment I had last week I urinated more frequently and my menses were heavier, brighter coloured and was painful in the end which is unusual.
    I am being treated for chronic pains that have not been diagnosed they are nerve related. I found the first treatment last week brought up an old complaint and gave pain relief from current complaint. I was very angry and very tearful last week. This week I feel like my head is wooly, my ears keep wanting to pop and my system just feels all yucky, and sinusy. I smelt the moxa on my t-shirt just now and I felt so sick! By reading the above comments it would seem like this isn’t too uncommon. Its a little weird for me because my old acupuncturist I had no bad side effects at all. and i saw him for a looooong time. Maybe this is healing more? hard to tell.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Kerry, I use Moxa often in my practice and sometimes I take all their clothes out of the treatment room to avoid the residue smell ;-). Do let your new acupuncturist know your reactions, so him/she can be aware of them and adjust the treatment protocol accordingly.

  59. Laura says:

    I had my 4th session today to treat my anxiety and insomnia which is triggered by my insomnia. I notice I get a headache, dry eyes kind of like I’m getting a cold. Is that common ?

  60. Lu says:

    Ive had 1 treatment so far for long standing facial burning neuropathy. I’ve had very big pain flares, especially at night, days 1 & 2. I asked my acupuncturist who said the pain is normal, but it’s just so intense & scares me. I’m scared to continue but of course want this pain to at least subside. Can things be more intense at night? Does this intensity seem ok, or at least semi-expected?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Lu, Sorry to hear the pain getting so intense. Don’t worry, it shall pass. Please let your acupuncturist know of this reaction, usually, they would modify the treatment protocol. All the BEST!

  61. Teresa Chen says:

    Hi Qiang Chen,
    Very happy to have found your site. I had acupuncture before when I was young. The acupuncturist was from Chile and shared information about the needles. She informed me it was the quality of the needle that determined the degree of pain when inserted.
    Recently, I had the honor of being treated for lower back pain after many years. I felt the needles insertion, and experience pain, weakness in various parts of my body.
    I am much older now, but I don’t think age has anything to do with needle pain. Can you explain?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Teresa,
      Indeed the poor quality needle, especially the tip of a needle, may cause needling pain. It was an issue of varying quality the last few decades, however by now, most manufacturers are producing high-quality needles. The needle factor to contribute to the needling pain becomes extremely low, it is more likely from the technique of the acupuncturist or the sensitivity of the patient’s skin due to health issues.
      Please talk to your acupuncturist about your reactions. There may be options to reduce the pain or weakness.
      All the best with your future sessions!

  62. Tina says:

    Hi! I had my first acupuncture done two days ago. She was treating my anxiety and stomach issues. I fell asleep during it (which is NOT like me, I run very uptight. I felt very zen and relaxed the rest of the day but noticed a pain in my neck and lymph swollen that night and then my anxiety went crazy and I have been an emotional wreck since! I am crying (not like me) and worrying and just feel depressed. Is this normal? Can Accupunture make your lymph swell?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Tina, What you going through commonly happens in my clinic. Just give a day to let the dust settle down, if you are still feeling unwell, contact your acupuncturist.

  63. Fatheha says:

    Hi, I am currently having acupuncture for chronic migraines. I have had constant migrainous headaches for some months now. I am trialling a new preventative but recently started acupuncture alongside in the hope that it could help reduce or ease my migraines. I had my fourth session last week and experienced an extremely severe migraine, unlike anything else. I have found that my acupuncture sessions do make me feel tired and lighter, but then lead to a migraine attack the following day, which can last for 2-3 days. I am now considering whether it is worth continuing the treatment if they are not helping and causing me more pain. Alternatively, I am wondering if this increase in pain could be a sign of healing? Any advice or comments would be very helpful.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Fatheha, Sorry to hear that you have had more pain. It does happen to some of my patients. If you were my patient, I would re-assess your treatment protocol to see if you would start to have more relief rather more flare-up. Please talk to your acupuncturist on your next visit.

  64. Emma says:

    Hello, I had my first acupuncture session 10 days ago for whiplash injury in my neck. The whiplash is so much better but I have been left with terrible anxiety that’ I haven’t ever had before. The first few days were the worst but even 10 days later I am suffering from anxiety in the mornings and I am lacking in energy. I spoke to the Chinese doctor who administered it and he said I shouldn’t get anxiety and wasnt very helpful. On speaking with another acupuncturist they said it sounds like I’ve had some sort of healing crisis and everything is very off balance? It is quite frightening as I’ve not suffered before. I am going to try the other acupuncturist as she said she maybe able to help me rebalance?
    I think it sounds like I may have had a very heavy treatment for my first go? All the toxins have maybe rushed out of me too quickly? It is easing but slowly. The needle were inserted into my shoulder and a heat lamp was used too. As I say the whiplash is much better but it’s left me feeling dreadful.

  65. Begs says:

    Hello. I had acupuncture for the first time in my life for stress and sleep problems. As soon as the session was over, I started having a very sharp shooting pain in the back of my left ear that comes and goes every minute. It has been 5 days now. Is it normal? Will the pain stop! I am scared to go for another session.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Begs, Sorry to hear that you have this pain reaction. To give your body a chance to ease stress and sleep issues by acupuncture, I would suggest you try it for at least 3 sessions. Please do let your acupuncturist know about this pain.

  66. Rachael says:

    I was surprised to read that these reactions are common, because when I told my acupuncturist about the extreme fatigue I’ve been experiencing after treatment sessions (for chronic lung disease and digestive issues), which is lasting for longer each time, she was very surprised, said it’s not common and seemed not to know what to do. She didn’t suggest any adjustments to the treatment but told me to take a higher dose of herbs and have a break from acupuncture for two weeks. Should I look for a different acupuncturist who understands that this is a normal reaction?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Rachael, Indeed overall these reactions are occurred in a low percentage of patients. But when everyone comes to this webpage to seek advice from all corners of earth, it looks common. The advice you received is correct that you need a break from acupuncture, thus let pressure points to rest and reset. Maybe you can discuss with your acupuncturist if a tonifying method would be used.

  67. Anh Eckrosh says:

    I live in the US and have done acupuncture on and off for years with several different practitioners. Although they’ve all been very helpful, no one has ever gone into so much details about how the process works, what to expect afterwards, what to do and what not to do. I’ve just done acupuncture based on “faith”. Thank you for all the detailed explanations. Wish you lived closer to me!

  68. Loni says:

    I had acupuncture about 5 weeks ago for trigeminal nerve pain and migraines that flared post covid and vaccine, and ended up coming down with shingles 3 days later. It was just mild and treatment helped clear it up quickly. It did help with the nerve pain, so I decided to give it another shot 2 weeks ago. I did feel some fatigue that night, but otherwise fine. On day 3, I ended up in urgent care with a mild anaphylactic reaction. I have never experienced a reaction like this and was not exposed to anything new. It has now been 12 days since the reaction and I’m still experiencing flushing/burning/itching of my skin (mainly in my upper body), as well as, abdominal pain, loose stools, nausea, shortness of breath, palpitations, severe throbbing headaches, brain fog/difficulty concentrating and fatigue. These are all symptoms that seem to line up with mast cell release. I do get some relief with H1 and H2 blockers, but I have to take it around the clock. Is this a reaction that you have seen before? If so, it there anywhere I can seek treatment? And can I expect these symptoms to fade at some point. This has been a major struggle and no doctor seems to be able to help me.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Loni, If you were my patient, I would have referred you to a GP or Allergy Specialist & Immunologist. There are too mach factors could contribute these reactions. Consulting with a specialist would help you to stay safe and also allow these reactions to settle down. All the Best!

  69. Sarah Anderson says:

    I had my first treatment today. Feel tired but great! I’m being seen for Bells Palsy that hit me a year ago. What are the chances of one year of paralysis being gone with treatments? I’m about 70% better. I’m not sure how often to go either? Thank you

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Sarah, congratulations on your positive feedback. Your questions are reflecting the anxiety state you have in your recovery. Please raise these questions to your practitioner, who shoulder be the right person to seek answers. As a rule of thumb, give it a try for 10 visits for a condition longer than a year. All the best with your treatments!

  70. Jacqueline T says:

    I have had about 5 acupuncture sessions and my last one gave me a bit of swelling at the needle sight – kind of like a mosquito bite – 24 hours later the swelling went down but it is still a tiny bit red …. But seems to be going down – what I have noticed though is that I am starting to get little raised skin colored bumps (almost like hives) in different areas of my body – kind of like an allergic reaction to something – I know what I am allergic to as I did an allergy patch test and have not been in contact with any allergies – is this a normal reaction to acupuncture and how long would the “hive like bumps” last?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Jacqueline, It is an uncommon yet documented reaction for the “hive like Bumps” to appear after acupuncture. In fact, sometimes these bumps flow at certain meridian lines. Please mention it to your acupuncturist, it may offer an insight into your energy response.

  71. Andrea Ramirez says:

    I had a healing crisis on my 8th session. A new acupuncturist saw me and I think triggered it.I was being seen for fertility and stress. I had fatigue for 3 days and random extreme anxiety the next three days. During my 9th session, I developed a headache. Fatigue has continues for 11 days now. Also I feel like pressure points are being activated when I get fatigue. Acupuncturist wants me take break since she think I am too sensitive to too many needles. I haven’t been able to work due to the fatigue. Also I am not sleeping well. I keep waking up at night. I desperately want this to end so I can work. What advice can you give me?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Andrea, I think it is a wise move that your acupuncturist paused the sessions. If you were one of my patients, I would suggest eating well and taking plenty of rest, and most importantly, don’t be over-stressed about the recovery timeline. Please respect your body, it may need some time to recharge, restore and recover. But if the fatigue is more than what you can handle, please see a GP to ensure you are safe with your condition.

      • Andrea Ramirez says:

        Thank you for responding. Your message helped me stay calm. I did see my GP, they did blood work. Everything came back normal. I will continue to rest.

      • Andrea Ramirez says:

        Hello again,

        I found out my thyroid level was low. I never had thyroid issues before. Do you think the acupuncture treatment threw off my body so much that my thyroid level dropped?

  72. Greta says:

    Hi there, I have been having acupuncture at least once a month for a couple of years now and I find it really helps any issue I’ve had.
    About a week ago I had a session of needles and cupping concentrated on fluid I had on my left ankle for about 20 years after a sprain. My acupuncturist said a gall bladder channel runs through where he worked.
    Two days after the treatment I woke with a headache and diarrhoea. That has stopped but I’ve had nausea on and off for 4 days now. The fluid has almost cleared on my ankle.
    Do you think it could be the clearing of the fluid flushing toxins through my body? Or something unrelated.
    Thanks for your time : )

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Greta, congrats on these changes! You have a typical Shaoyang/Gall bladder response. Please pass on this information to your acupuncturist. He/she would be very happy to notice those changes in you.

  73. Liz says:

    Greetings Qiang Chen. Many thanks for this site. It has reassured me about what I’m experiencing. I was encouraged to try Acupuncture as my level of pain was increasing. My GP thinks it might be Bursitis or Tendonitis or Sciatica. I’m to have an ultra sound at the end of the week. So with courage I went to have acupuncture yesterday. I felt great after it. But have woken today with a lot more pain which has been quite severe. I’m pleased to have read about others experiences. Helps me to feel less anxious. Also I have noted about the value of water. I’m on to that now. I just want to sit with no pain. Ta for generous time in helping all.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Liz, Thank you for your feedback. Yes, The healing of pain is like melting an ice cube which takes some time, rather than smashing the ice cube – faster but with undesired impact.

  74. Marley Nill says:

    After my last session with my acupuncturist, she placed a needle in between my thumb and pointer finger (LI-4 Hegu) and after taking out after 30 minutes I had a giant knot of tissue that was excruciating pain. Looked like a small ball had formed under my skin. This also happened last week when I used gua sha to massage my forehead, waking up the next morning with a large bump that is sore and feels deeep below the surface full of fluid of some sort. They seem to be similiar. What in the world is this, and why does it condense to deeply into a ball? Not sure how long she’s been practicing but my accupuncturist said that was the first time she has seen this happen. I’m a bit fearful. Thank you for your advice.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Marley, Thank you for sharing your experience. It does happen to my patients too. Sometimes it may take up to one week for them to disappear. It can recover more quickly if you apply it with a heat pack. If it is intense pain after 24 hours or the Knot/bump continued after a day, I would suggest calling your acupuncturist or talking to a doctor.

  75. Min says:

    Hi Qiangchen, thanks so much for sharing lots of useful information. I also started trying acupunture one month ago and yeah I experienced all the mentioned symptoms. I have had sciatica pain for almost three months. Took MRI but everything came back normal and healthy. Really frustrated what my underlying cause is about. Then I was introduced to an acupuncturist in my country. She has a very intimidating vibe and doesn’t talk much but has a very good reputation for her magic hand from the patients so she usually doesn’t communicate much with us. She shared she learnt her skills from a very mysterious Chinese man. I want to talk more with her but she keeps her distance with all the patients. Every sessions last within a minute more or less. She doesn’t leave needles on our bodies for very long but instead very short. Still the effects after that are strong , for me personally.( I did experienced all). I first started 3 continuous days then 10 days in between and then 3 more days (10 days resting) . I did notice some small improvements but still the pains are there. Recently she touched my hands very quick and asked me to reduce down to 1 acupuncture day then 10 day rest. Since i still feel pain, i asked her if i can go for 3 days. she refused and doesnt tell me why. so if you can assist to shed some lights on some questions, it would be very much appreciated.
    1) how acupunturists diagonse? in my case, she just touched my back and put the needles on my butt
    2) how can they tell if an patient needs more or less treatments
    3) can i combine acunpunture with vitamin b complex ?
    4) is my case considered as chronic condition ?

    Sorry for long post as I am very new to all this of stuff 🙁

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Min, Thank you for sharing your experience.
      However, answering your questions is not that easy. Your question is similar to asking How the Chinese cook a Chinese meal and How they prepare their food… To answer them in simple ways, there are hundreds of ways for acupuncturists to assess people’s condition and identify the body’s energy flow/chi balance, then they give a treatment specific to that body at that moment. I am unable to give you any specific suggestions for you for that reason.

      If I were you , I would think of try another acupuncturist to see you can communicate with them better. Or turn on your trust and let the flow of life takes over to help you.

      • Min says:

        Hi Chen, thanks for the reply. In your acupunture experience, do you see lots of people recovering from sciatica over 3 months ? and whats the positive signs of improving scitica besides centralization ? some days i have more pain in the low back , some days i have more pain in the back of knees. I did def notice less pain the calf but I feel like the pain runs all the time. Doesn’t stay at one place. Is it bad sign ? Is it normal?

  76. Andrea Ramirez says:

    Have you ever heard of patient experiencing thyroiditis from acupuncture? This happened to me after my 8th session, and I am about 6 months out and still have sensations on my forehead, under my left cheek, on my back mainly left shoulder blade, and back of calves. Doctors don’t know why I am experiencing this. I think the acupuncture caused this. Perhaps it’s my nervous system still recovering from the trauma from acupuncture. What do you think?

  77. Ahmad says:

    Hi, I had COVID, 20 months ago since then
    Fatigue and my libido decreased a lot. 10 days ago I started acupuncture and I have already done 2 sessions now I have flu symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, coughing etc . Is it normal? Also does acupuncture help to boost my libido back ? Thanks

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Ahmed, Your reactions are exactally what I have explained in the article. The Libido is the ” icing on the cake”, when your energy restored, the sex drive arrives naturally.

      • Ahmad says:

        Thank you very much for your reply. How long do you think will take or how many sessions will I do to be restored my energy? Thanks a lot.

  78. Sharyn says:

    Hi! I wanted some feedback. My 17 year old daughter had acupuncture the other day. She has had recurrent nerve pain in her ear following a migraine. During the treatment nerve pain spread to her face and then her entire body. Since then she has severe electric shocks, burning, numbness and tingling throughout her entire body even through her fingertips and to her toes. Even internally. It has been four days now with no improvement. Her practitioner said to me ‘that is unusual’. That is it. She is in agony. Can anyone explain this to me and will it be temporary?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Sharyn, Sorry to hear that your daughter is in such pain. I think probably that hurts you even more as a mother. It is unusual to have worsened reaction for 4 days without improvement. If your daughter were my patient, I would suggest to visit a Docotor or neurologist to be sure she is safe.

    • Andrea Ramirez says:

      Hi, this happened to me too. Did it resolve? Or figure out the problem.

  79. Ahmad says:

    Thank you very much for your reply. How long do you think will take or how many sessions will I do to be restored my energy? Thanks a lot.

  80. Paula says:

    Very interesting. 2 weeks and 2 days after beginning acupuncture I came down w/ cold symptoms and a mild cold sore. I have not experienced either in over a year. Coincidence or related?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Can be both. The most important step is allow the process to go through without feeling stressed/concerned with it.

  81. Chloe says:

    I had acupuncture for the first time and then had really vivid, bizarre and stressful dreams afterwards. Is that normal?

  82. Petra says:

    Hello, I have had 7 acupuncture sessions approximately 1 week apart for burning mouth syndrome. My symptoms have been up and down throughout this time so I’m not sure it is working for me. On several occasions my symptoms have worsened significantly for the few days after then improved slightly but then back to square one. Have I given it a good enough go or should I persist do you think? Also is it normal for things to be so much worse for the following days even after session 7?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Petra, You have done it for over 7 weeks, I think you have given acupuncture a good go. The worsen reaction indicates more blood/energy has flowed to the area of healing, however if it is not lasting. There maybe more underline issues need to be looked at. Best Wishes.

  83. Ruben R says:

    Hi! I got an acupunture treatment 2 weeks ago. I feel relaxed after the treatment, but 1 day aftet I experienced short of breath and chest tightness when I made some activity. I feel exhausted when I walked like I dont have energy. I still have this syntoms 2 weeks after. Its normal? I dont know what to do. Thanks. They treatment for intestinal candida and the practitioner tell me that I was lack of energy.

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Ruben, It is the best to discuss with your acupuncturist about your feelings. There are different stages of recovery due to your natural constitution. Your therapist will understand and support your journey of recovery. Best wishes.

  84. Leanne says:

    Hi, I had my second acupuncture session today for anxiety and shakiness. Since the session I have had chills, been sneezing, feel more shaky and anxious, slight blurred vision and haven’t been able to focus properly. Is this normal? How can I tell if the sessions are working?

    • Qiang Chen says:

      Hi Leanne, This is one of the best questions I have received. Indeed, there is no golden rules for the mark of effectiveness. Yet, if you are looking back with a week, you may notice all the symptoms are settle down and you have more time feel at peace or less anxious. That will be the mark of acupuncture is working. In a simple term, acupuncture calm the inner NOISE from the chaotic nerves. That is what acupuncture is good at. Be patient and stay calm.

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