Acupuncture is a treatment used to help prepare your body to heal after surgery. You may have acupuncture before your surgery and then each day after your surgery that you are in the hospital if it's available at your hospital.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that promotes health and treats illness or pain. Acupuncture involves putting sterile, hair-thin needles into certain locations on the body called acupuncture points.

Acupuncture moves the flow of energy called qi (pronounced "chee"). Qi moves through your body along pathways called meridians. When you are healthy, qi moves freely through your body. If qi becomes blocked, you may have pain, an illness or feel emotional (such as stressed or anxious). Acupuncture can unblock the qi and help your body heal.

What to expect during your treatment

  • You will lie on your bed or sit in a chair.
  • The acupuncturist will insert needles into the acupuncture points.
  • You should feel no pain or only a little pain when the needles are inserted.
  • Once the needles are inserted, you may feel tingling, warmth or other sensations at the acupuncture points or other areas of your body.
  • The needles usually stay in the acupuncture points for 20 minutes.
  • After your treatment, the needles will be removed.
  • You may feel relaxed and peaceful after your treatment.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Understanding Your Colon or Rectal Surgery, can-ah-95399
First Published: 01/24/2013
Last Reviewed: 08/15/2017