A guide to acupuncture for beginners: What happens during a session and its benefits


Acupuncture is a 5,000-year-old Chinese medical practice which consists of the application of needles to pathways in the body.

Wondering which type of alternative medicine should you choose? What results can you expect and how do you find a practitioner? Dr Philippe Maslo, a GP, acupuncturist and osteopath, gives you a guide to acupuncture:

How do you define acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a 5,000-year-old Chinese medical practice which consists of the application of needles to pathways in the body called meridians to facilitate the circulation of energy. Acupuncture has its own logic for understanding illness, its own concepts of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology.

Why consult an acupuncturist?

Choosing to consult an acupuncturist is a decision to try a medicine that is more anchored in the natural functioning of the body that does not have recourse to drugs. There are a variety of problems for which Western medicine is ineffective or poorly adapted. For some, acupuncture can be an effective treatment for headaches, back ache, hormonal imbalances, certain sorts of pain, inflammatory pathologies, and pregnancy-related symptoms.

What is the main strength of this therapeutic option?

 Acupuncturists adopt a global approach. They do not treat symptoms, they treat individuals. The goal is to restore a balance in the functioning of the body. And this has curative benefits but it also has preventive ones. That is the main strength of acupuncture.

What happens at an acupuncture session?

The first session is critical. It is the moment when all of the important questions should be asked, and also for a close examination and diagnosis. The acupuncture points where needles are inserted may vary over time depending on the patient’s response. The number of needles used is also highly variable. In general, they are positioned symmetrically, that is to say, if one is positioned on a point on the right side of the body, another will be positioned on the same point on the left side, but this varies from one school of acupuncture to another.

What results can be expected from treatment?

Results can vary from no improvement to complete cure. It all depends on the acupuncturist’s ability to understand the patient and to formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Certain pathologies, for example, cancer are beyond the scope of acupuncture. However, acupuncture is effective in preventing chemotherapy side effects. So it is very important to discuss your expectations when consulting an acupuncturist.





Written by Loknath Das