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How long do the benefits of acupuncture last?

By Irina Szmelskyj, DipAc, MSc, MBAcC, MBAA, BAFMOR, FRSPH
Fertility Acupuncturist, Author, Speaker, Lecturer, Examiner

About the author: Irina Szmelskyj is an award-winning fertility acupuncturist, a co-author of a best-selling textbook ‘Acupuncture for IVF and Assisted Reproduction: An Integrated Approach to Treatment and Management’. Irina is also a lecturer on the subject of acupuncture for infertility and IVF and is an award-winning acupuncturist specialising in reproductive medicine practicing at True Health Clinics in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and CAM Therapies in Cambridge, UK.

In a hurry? Key takeaway points from this article

Research studies show that acupuncture pain-relieving effects last for over 12 months. 
Furthermore, MRI studies show that acupuncture causes the brain to re-wire itself to feel less pain. 

"The effects of a course of acupuncture treatment for patients with chronic pain do not seem to decrease importantly over 12 months. Patients can generally be reassured that treatment effects persist."

Two meta-analysis studies (considered highest level of scientific proof) found that following a course of acupuncture treatment, 85-90% of the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture lasted for over 12 months.

Acupuncture MRI studies show show that a course of acupuncture literally re-wires the brain and this has a lasting effect.

"We also found clear evidence that the effects of acupuncture persists over time with only a small decrease, approximately 15%, in treatment effect a 1 year."

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