How does acupuncture work? 

The first and most common question "Does acupuncture hurt?"  The answer is no.

Just to give you some perspective: a needle for drawing blood is a 21 gauge hollow hypodermic needle. It is designed to allow the blood to flow quickly out of your vain allowing a lower pressure and is less harmful to red blood cells. An acupuncture needle is 25-45 times smaller as shown in the picture. The needle is so thin that it is not much thicker than a strand of hair which allows for a painless insertion. 

Acupuncture achieves the desired results by stimulating specific points near or on the surface of the skin (acupuncture points), which have the ability to alter biochemical and physiological conditions in the body. Because acupuncture points are designated areas of electrical sensitivity, inserting needles at these points stimulates sensory receptors which in turn stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary system in the brain. The hypothalamus-pituitary glands are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing hormones (thought to be some 200 times more potent than morphine). Endorphins play a significant role in the hormonal system, which is why acupuncture is effective in treating back pain, arthritis, PMS and infertility. The substances released as a result of acupuncture relaxing the body also regulate serotonin in the brain, which affects emotional states.  

Other physiological effects include increased circulation, decreased inflammation, relief of muscle spasms and increased T-cell count, which supports the immune system. 

Generally speaking, acupuncture is accumulative; in as little as four weeks of treatment you will see improvement if not a total resolution of your chief complaint. Many patients start to see improvements in other areas of their lives and continue treatment. 

This modality works very well at strengthening overall health and preventing future illness. It also works to manage everyday stress, keeping the body and nervous system relaxed.

Ready to get started? 


The initial appointment is 1.5 hour allowing us to get a full picture of your health and lifestyle so we can better treat you. After that appointments are typically one hour long. Shen Shu acupuncture is also an out-of-network provider with most major insurance companies. If you would like to have us check your coverage please feel free to contact us.