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Use of Acupuncture needles


Im a 30 year guy, who is overweight but not too unhealthy. My acupuncturist, is supposed to be one of the best in my country. My questions are:

1. Number of Needles: My acupuncturist always uses 30 - 40 needles on me, per session of 25 minutes. I read that an average session should not have more than 8 - 10 needles. Is this a problem? There aren’t many other acupuncture options in my country. Should I continue to go to him or will it have a damaging effect on my body? Is there any way to suggest a reduction in the number of needles used, without offending him?

2. Immune to acupuncture: I read that if acupuncture is continuously administered without a proper protocol, our bodies can develop a resistance to its effectiveness. Kind of like when one takes an antibiotic improperly and develops a resistance to it in the future. Is this true?

3. Frequency of treatment: My acupuncturist gave me the option of choosing how frequently I would like to go for treatment, rather than telling me the frequency and how many visits would be required. As I am a working professional, I asked him if i could go once a week, and he said ok. Is a once a week session good enough for healing? (not a major problem) Or once a week too little? Can I become immune to acupuncture treatment this way?

4*.Use of electronic device to check meridians: My acupuncturists makes me hold on to some kind of electronic device to get readings on his computer about which energy channels are deficient or in excess in my body. Based on that he chooses my acupuncture points. I read an article on machinese being a part of ‘quak science’. Your views please?

5.Bleeding after every session: Everytime my accupuncturist pulls out the needles from my body, I bleed a little and they have to wipe out all the bleeding points with alchohol swabs. Is this normal?

I am eagerly looking forward to your advice, suggestions and any sort of useful information.


The real answer to your question is whether you are better or not - that’s all that really matters after all. If you are and don’t have a problem with the treatments - then don’t worry about what your practitioner is doing. If you’ve been going for awhile, even if you like the treatments, but are getting nowhere with your issues, then see someone else.

To give a general answer to your questions, though, I’ll answer them in order. I’ll preface with saying that this system of medicine is 1000’s of years old so there are perhaps best practices, but there really are no right or wrongs or hard rules. The value of the medicine is in large part due to the adaptability of it to each individual.

  1. 30-40 does sound like a bit, but with a combination of distal points and some local ashi points that wouldn’t be too far off depending on what you are treating. There isn’t an average session really, but there are extremes. Using 1 or 4 needles in Japanese style treatments, for example and then practitioners like yours on the high end. Personally I tend to use 18-26 per treatment for most cases but that is because we use a combination of distal points, a bit more in the head than most probably and huatuo points which are mostly needle bilaterally.

As far as your question about whether that number of needles will “damage” you - not if they are appropriately chosen. So, see my first paragraph about looking at the results - not how the practitioner gets there. If the results are there don’t worry. Is overneedling an issue? - yes, it can be. People can get very drained from excessive needling and generally will not have their health issues improve.

  1. Generally this is nonsense - but, what does “continuously” refer to? For longer-term or chronic issues treating more than once a week in my opinion is simply unnecessary. Will it cause damage to do more, again, not if there is a good reason to do so and an appropriate diagnostic approach to justify it.

  2. See above - once a week is generally more than enough - but it depends far more on what you are treating and your individual health issues, than general rules.

  3. I think the electronic devices are at best a poor substitute for the strong energetic development of the practitioner and at worst quackery. But that’s just my opinion.

  4. If it’s just a point or two say at the wrists or ankles or scalp that bleed from time to time then, yes, that’s likely normal. If it’s all of them, or the majority of them, then they are probably needling far too deeply. Again this isn’t necessarily wrong so long as you feel comfortable during the treatment and you are getting results. But in general, this shouldn’t happen very often.


Thank you so much. You have once again cleared up a lot of confusion and put my mind to rest. I greatly appreciate it.


Dear Practioner,
I think some of the bleedings after needling acupoints (after removing the needles) is about of Qi redundancy, we help to balance this point to the base energy. Yes I am agree with you too, this must not happen all the time and all of the treaten acupoints. Also there is another traditional method of blood letting for balancing the Qi. Are you think so ?


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