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Acupuncture_Doctor_Holds_Needles.jpgHere at City Acupuncture we have been fortunate to help tens of thousands of people recover from a wide array of issues over the last 9 years. Between our three current NYC locations, we are expecting to complete over 30,000 sessions this year!

In this post, I'm going to reflect on that collective experience to answer the question, "what does acupuncture treat?" Or maybe more properly stated, "why do people get acupuncture?"

If you have been thinking about acupuncture as an all natural, effective remedy for these common problems, hopefully this post will help you decide that acupuncture is a good treatment option for you wherever you are!


1. Back Pain

This is the number one reason people come to City Acupuncture. In fact, we have already seen 450 back pain cases in the first 3 months of this year!

As a general rule, most back pain cases will find relief within 5 sessions. If you do not feel any pain relief after 5 sessions, in our experience it is not likely that acupuncture will help you for this problem. 

Assuming you do get relief within five sessions (most people do), the next step is to get you to a place where the pain does not return. This could require more acupuncture, it could require massage therapy, it could require a stretching routine for you to do at home, or it could be a combination of these things. 

Usually the determining factor in whether or not back pain will return is the cause of the pain itself. If the pain was caused by an accident in the past, acupuncture can often have a good, permanent effect. But if the pain is from repetitive stress (for example the way you sit a your computer at work) and you can't  stop doing whatever is causing your pain, it is more likely that the pain will come back and maintenance will be required.

2. Stress Management

You may be surprised to see this rank so high but stress management is in fact the second most common reason people get acupuncture at City Acupuncture. Of the roughly 3,000 people who have come to City Acupuncture so far this year, 390 of them came seeking stress management.

The truth is that stress is the root cause of so many other problems! More accurately, I should say that stress management (or lack thereof) is the root cause of all that evil. Life is stressful by its very nature. Without stress there would be no experience and vice versa, so the goal should not be stress elimination. Rather, we seek to increase our ability to manage the stress and keep it from causing illness and disease. 

3. Neck and Shoulder Pain

This one is very similar to back pain in that most people will see at least short term relief of their symptoms within 5 sessions. In the case of neck and shoulder pain I think it may be closer to 3 sessions but I can't say that definitively. I can say that most of the time people feel real but temporary relief after their first visit.

The thing about neck and shoulder pain is that so much of it is caused by repetitive stress. If you are dealing with neck and shoulder pain I really suggest youcheck out our free guide by clicking here. You don't have to enter an email address or anything, it's just a blog post. But there is a lot of  good info n there that can help you pretty quickly.

4. Anxiety/Depression

As with stress management above, anxiety depression treatment with acupuncture is based in the concept that you can use the physical body to treat the emotional body, just as emotional hurt can be expressed by the physical body as illness.

There is no doubt that anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications have done a lot of good for a lot of people, and we are grateful that they exist as an option for people who need them. That said, many cases of anxiety depression do not require pharmaceutical intervention, and because the drugs used for these purposes come with such intense possible side effects, we are very happy that acupuncture is quickly gaining recongition as a safe and effective alternative.

5. Fertility Support

Like anxiety/depression above, fertility support through acupuncture is quickly gaining in popularity. In this case the conventional treatment (IVF) is very expensive, which leads a lot of women to give acupuncture a shot before committing to something far more serious.

Many women come for acupuncture in conjunction with their IVF or IUI, and studies show that acupuncture can increase the efficacy of both of these interventions.


Although these are the top 5 reasons people get acupuncture currently, the truth is all together this list only comprises about half of all of our cases. That's because acupuncture is an entire system of medicine that can be used for just about any problem. It's the best part of the job as an acupuncturist - you get to help so many diverse people with so many diverse problems.

I hope this list was useful, feel free to leave a comment below!


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