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How fast does acupuncture work?
Specific research on this topic is not yet available to definitively answer this question. Various literature tells us that the physicians of ancient China reported immediate responses with acupuncture therapy. In my own experience immediacy is very common, and I'm proud to say a standing rule that I work by. Before leaving a patient to rest with the needles, my goal is to relieve a pain or problem by 70% to 100%. For one or two conditions, this may take two to five minutes. For multiple problems, this can take as long as twenty minutes; but the time relates mostly to how quickly a patient responds.
Acupuncture has a direct correlation to the nervous system and so it's speed of response is dependent on that of our own electrical signals. The rate of various nerve impulses have been measured and documented as follows:
o Pain signals travel at 1 (just over 3 feet) meter per second
o Brain impulses at 50 meters (just over 164 feet) per second
o Touch impulses at 75 meters (just over 246 feet) per second
o Motor signals at 110 meters (just over 360 feet) per second
When the correct points are used, relief can be noticed in a few seconds to a few minutes. Pain of any kind typically responds more quickly than something like sinus congestion. This is because something like sinus congestion has multiple processes contributing to the problem whereas pain is simply a nervous signal conveying that there is something wrong at a specific location or locations. With acupuncture, the "nervous glitch" is over-ridden.
So, I usually answer this question with, "How fast does the nervous system work?" The answer? Faster than the speed of light.
With the proper use of acupuncture, benefits can be noticed almost immediately. I say almost immediately because the other body processes involved take a few more seconds to "catch on" to the nervous influence. Usually, I don't leave the room until the pain or problem is between 70% - 100% better. This would mean that the condition is fully resolved. A "retraining" of the body's nervous flow pattern needs to occur before a condition can be fully resolved. Once it's full resolved, however, a person is not cured.
How can that be? This is because if a person goes out and twists their ankle again, the pain will come back. If a person bombards their system with known allergens (especially ones that they know their body is sensitive to) after their immune system is strengthened to such a degree that they no longer experience allergies, sooner or later the immune system will weaken again and the old symptoms will return. The cure is in the maintenance of healthy life-style habits.