More and more people are seeking the expertise of an acupuncturist as Chinese Medicine becomes more and more mainstreamed. Acupuncture provides a highly effective way for people to heal themselves naturally. It stimulates, strengthens, and balances the flow of vital energy (Qi) throughout the energy pathways (meridians) of the body. It works by removing blockages and stagnation of Qi within the meridians to restore health. In addition, an acupuncture recipient taps into, connects and accesses their innate healing ability through the experience of a treatment making positive results even more likely.

Acupuncture is considered a form of energy medicine, one that prods the body into a perfect state of health. It’s effectiveness is partially based upon the belief that disease happens on an energetic level first. Acupuncture keeps the energetic system open, flowing and working properly. Regular acupuncture treatments is an excellent addition a healthcare plan designed to prevent and treat disease. This must, however, happen with an acupuncturist that provides the best care possible.

During an acupuncture session, a recipient is provided with the opportunity to balance their system on a deep, profound level providing impetus for the creation of vibrant health and wellbeing. The results vary based upon the willingness of the recipient to heal themselves combined with the presenting state of their physical and energetic health picture.

Acupuncture is a treatment that can be used for different problems, at different times, and during different periods of life. Just because acupuncture doesn’t work for one problem doesn’t mean it won’t help for the same or another one that may arise at a later date. Our bodies change throughout time and one’s readiness for healing is a variable as well. One may have not been ready or able to release a problem or symptom at one point, but may be totally ready at another point in time.

The experience of an acupuncture treatment can also vary based upon the particular acupuncturist providing the treatment. In other words, not all acupuncturists are created equal. Just because one acupuncturist fails to obtain positive results, doesn’t mean another acupuncturist wouldn’t be able to help.

There are many different ways that an acupuncturist can guide a patient toward a more positive, healing experience. Other than the obvious factor of needling approach and technique, some additional factors to look out for include the way they present themselves, speak to the patient, respond to patient questions, the manner of providing treatment, the environment of their treatment space, the music played, as well as how their employees run the office and answer the phone. All of these variables affect how you feel as a recipient of acupuncture which determine ensuing treatment results.

A primary goal of acupuncture treatment is for the patient to develop and find a way to connect with and own their healing. An acupuncturist serves as a guide in this process. Through as they gently prod the self-heal process through the insertion of needles. The acupuncturist is not doing the healing, rather it is the patient who is responsible for their own healing. It is, therefore, highly recommended to find an acupuncturist who gives the patient responsibility and credit for their own healing process. An acupuncturist should take time to explain this and several other things during the initial consultation. Or, you could choose to discuss this subject on the telephone prior to coming in for your first visit.

It’s not uncommon for a patient to be apprehensive during their first visit simply because it is a new experience. If a recipient is nervous about receiving acupuncture the first time the acupuncturist should be sensitive to their needs. An acupuncturist can choose to say and do things to help the patient feel more comfortable to allay their fears. For example, explaining that any fear or apprehension will quickly dissipates as soon as they experience a surprisingly, painless first needle is helpful. Prior to receiving the treatment, the acupuncturist also needs to explain that sometimes a needle starts “to smart” during a treatment signifying the release of a Qi blockage. An acupuncturist should warn the patient that this could happen and instruct them to breathe deeply into the area for a few minutes until the discomfort dissipates. Additionally, if the patient is uncomfortable for any reason, there should be a call button or a bell to summon the acupuncturist to their room. An acupuncturist should do their best to be there for their patients -- close by, and ready to be of assistance. This creates a safe and nurturing environment where the patient can access the best and strongest healing possible.

During the actual treatment, an acupuncturist may find it helpful to talk to the recipient to divert their attention from the needling process. They could also recommend that the patient close their eyes during the needling. Rather than closing the door of the room after the needles are inserted and coming back in 20 minutes which is the usual protocol  an acupuncturist can offer to leave the door open and check in occasionally until the patient feels more comfortable.

Creating the space for a patient to go deep into a state of healing during an acupuncture session is extremely important. This enhances the opportunity for the patient to make the necessary energetic/physical shifts to move toward a more perfect state of health. Because a healing environment sets the stage for a successful acupuncture treatment, it is essential that it provide amenities to ensure the feeling of safety, peace, and comfort. The more the patient can relax, the better the treatment will work. Some suggestions for this during the treatment time include:

• soft lighting or darkness
• no loud or irritating sounds
• pillows for comfortable positioning,
• accessible method to alert the practitioner
• comfortable room temperature
• blanket, heat lamp or space heater to provide proper warmth
• gentle, pleasing music or chosen quietude.

Traditionally, Chinese medicine teaches that strong needle stimulation provides the most benefit, but my experience has proven differently. An acupuncturist must pay close attention and be sensitive to the not only the appropriate amount of stimulation needed to treat a particular condition, but also the needle tolerance of the recipient. The proper amount of needle stimulation needs to change from treatment to treatment and patient to patient. This is especially true for those patients that are extremely sensitive to needles or “needle-shy.”

If a patient is extremely sensitive, stimulation can be given ever so gently or even eliminated altogether with excellent treatment results. In this case, the mere insertion of the needle is enough to provide sufficient Qi stimulation. Other patients with a more robust constitution, in turn, may require strong stimulation to achieve desired results.

There are so many things that an acupuncturists can do to make a patient feel more comfortable. Having more knowledge as to what this might entail will help you to have a better acupuncture experience – a way to keep your energy flowing freely and abundantly, a gentle and sure way “to become unstuck!” It is my hope that this information helps you get on the acupuncture path soon so that you can be pleasantly surprised and amazed at its profound healing benefits.

Author's Bio: 

Shoshanna Katzman is author of Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20 Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy, Avery/Penguin Group USA, October, 2003 along with a companion DVD and video produced by Swing Pictures, LLC. She has been a Tai Chi and Qigong practitioner since 1974 and Director of the Red Bank Acupuncture and Wellness Center ( since 1988. Shoshanna is Ambassador and the first woman President of the National Qigong Association ( She is also Secretary of the New Jersey Acupuncture Examining Board, producer of annual women wellness conferences (, and co-author of Feeling Light: The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness Avon Books, 1997. Shoshanna can be reached at 732-758-1800 or visit to view and order her qigong book, DVD, and video.