Guest blog: from a client

I thought I’d post this first guest blog now from a client at Oasis Community Acupuncture before I misplace the sheet it was written on (written last week). Ruth was describing to me recently how she knew she was “done.” I found it very interesting and had not heard anyone express it in exactly those terms. So I thought others may also find it of interest.

“I have been receiving treatment … at Oasis Community Acupuncture for approximately 2 months and a half, and have had very excellent results. I tend to stay for about 30 minutes because this is the amount of time it takes for me to actually feel the needles working.

“During the first 20 minutes, I feel very relaxed, and during the last 10 minutes, I feel a tingling sensation starting from my hands and slowly spreading throughout my body. This sensation is similar to when your arms are starting to get numb, but it is not something negative. It is a very pleasant and calm sensation.

“After every session, I feel like my mood changes dramatically. I am much less tense, and it is due to that sensation I am left with during those last 10 minutes.”

Author: davidv

Have been practicing community acup. since early 2008. Solo acupuncturist. No employee. Previous employments in Home Audio retail sales and Insurance claims.

Related Articles

Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Duration

    thanks for the post.

    Did anybody ever had patients staying too long with the needles, in a way that made something worse?
    I’m an acupuncturist , and now moving to community setting and i’m having some issues with the needle retention time..


  2. A, I have been

    practicing CA for a little over a year and have not had any case where staying a long time with the needles made a condition worse. Most people are stressed and appreciate being able to stay as long as they want. They come in stressed and are so mellowed out afterwards. I think it was Dr. Richard Tan who said/ or wrote that  it takes something like 20 minutes with the needles just to get the body to relax. What are your issues w/ the retention time?

  3. This has happened in my practice. I found that

    patients with great deficiency/sensitivities could not tolerate a long treatment.  In monitoring their pulses, I could actually feel their pulse strengthen and balance as the treatment progressed, and then, if left too long, the pulse would reverse itself gradually, and the patient would report feeling worse after.  The problem has always been remedied, in my practice, by cutting the treatments short and slowly building up to longer times.  This also served as a handy benchmark for patients to track. 

  4. thanks for the reply

    My issues are exactly what lumiel wrote below. If i give my patients the freedom to decide when to end the session, maybe if they are deficient the long needle retention will weaken them more.
    In my practice i let the patients stay with the needles for 25-30 min, and now as i move to a bigger setting, i’m not sure what to do…


  5. I think Lumiel answered your

    concern when she wrote:

    “The problem has always been remedied, in my practice, by cutting the treatments short and slowly building up to longer times.  This also served as a handy benchmark for patients to track. ”

  6. does it ever go back up again?

    Hey Lumiel,

    I can imagine the situation you describe, I’m just wondering if you have ever seen the pulse get stronger again (say, it’s strong for the first 20 – 30 min, then weaker after another 20 – 30 min, then gets stronger again)…?  I have never experimented with taking the pulse like this so I’m just curious.

    Guest, just to weigh in with my experience: I VERY rarely have people report being more tired after a treatment (even the first one), but I’ve seen very few patients with overall deficiency.  Sometimes folks who are really stressed feel how tired they actually are “underneath,” once that surface layer of tension is relieved by the needles.  And in my experience that makes sense to people as you explain it to them.  In other words, tired and deficient aren’t necessarily the same thing.

    The folks whose retention I watch are the really anxious people who don’t relax deeply during the treatment; I try to pull the needles before they get too antsy, and then ratchet the time up as the course of treatment goes on – usually after three tx or so they’re okay.

  7. I echo Nora’s post,

    I echo Nora’s post, especially about people tending toward antsy-ness when starting treatment and enjoying longer treatments as they get used to the process.


  8. Qi circuit

    According to the literature, we estimate it will take an average of 20 minutes for qi to make a complete circuit through the channels.  For stronger people it takes as little as 12-15 minutes, for weaker people it takes longer, sometimes as long as 30-35 minutes.  For children very short times, for babies as little as 8 minutes.

    But pulse taking is a reliable way to know when they are “cooked”.

    If you subscribe to the notion that most Americans are XS, a sedating treatment (that is, longer than a qi circuit for that person) or an unblocking treatment would be appropriate for most, thus more than 30 minutes.


  9. Deficiency due to stagnation

    I saw this dramatically recently.  A 61 yr old woman post successful breast cancer tx for one yr came in with extreme fatigue and a western dx of CHF with a left ventricle ejection fraction of 30-35%.  I thought for sure she would need herbs.  The first two tx I tried didn’t budge her but when I did used Miriam Lee’s 6 points, she perked up and has stayed good.

     I was taught that acu can’t tonify, just relieve stagnation.  I think this is a “seeing is believing” case where what appears to be deficiency was really stagnation.  She tolerates needles for an hour without problems, BTW.

  10. treatment length

    i think that along with stagnation there is a LOT of mental and physical over-stimulation (coffee, sugar, televison, internet, cellphones, advertising….information and stimulation overload) in the average north amertican patient. it is hard for many people to let go and relax just sitting there with themselves because so many of them are used to only doing that when they watch tv or fall asleep at night. acupuncture helps them arrive at this relaxed wakefullness that is very healing and powerful. even if they sleep during treatment, many patient report that the quality of that acupuncture-induced sleep has a different, more deep yet “buzzy” quality that just regular sleep. it takes time for the body and mind to settle down – i think that this is what dr. tan was talking about. i think one of the reasons so many of CA patient report more profound results is that they are allowed more time to decompress and let the needles do their work together with a more relaxed body and mind. i also noticed that when someone is very frequent with their sessions they do not need as much time to settle and their treatment time is shorter. sometimes they are even disappointed when they a re” cooked” in a shorter time because they wish to stay in that blissful state longer, but the needles have already done their job. this is where meditation practice would come in, i suppose. i noticed this also with myself – i get needled (mostly by me) about 3 times a week, sometimes more and i usually feel cooked within 20 minutes. i never experienced someone being depleted after an extar-long nap with needles in – usually people wake up and say – ” i feel great!” -tatyana

  11. I see..

    Thank you all for your responses to the subject.. now i’m kind of convinced to go on with this model of long needle retention… If anybody has more to say, i’ll be glad to hear!



  12. I have never seen that happen, Nora, because I never kept

    the needles in once i realized the pulse was going down.  Besides, there’s that ethical dimension to consider, eh?  It would have to be accidental, I suppose, for us to get a reading of pulse in that situation.