Acupuncture has been performed since ancient times in China. Traditional Chinese medicine involves energy pathways and energy centers which are linked to various bodily functions.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, if someone has a kidney stone, they are experiencing weakened kidney energy.
Acupuncture needles are now made from stainless steel, in varying lengths and widths. The needles are only used once and then disposed of so there is no risk of infection transmission. Sometimes acupuncture needles are electrically stimulated because this can result in greater pain relief.
In general, acupuncture is a painless procedure. The needles will usually be left in for 20 to 30 minutes and in that time often produces profound relaxation.
Acupuncture can help the body pass a kidney stone. Treatment may even change kidney and urinary function in such a way that the urine's chemistry is changed, which can help make kidney stones disintegrate, and lessen the individual's vulnerability to future kidney stones.
Kidney stones smaller than 5 mm in diameter can be treated successfully with acupuncture. Treatment can be performed whether or not pain is present.
The presence and type of pain will help to guide the acupuncture practitioner. The area of pain will help determine where to use the needles.
Treatment might focus on the upper lumbar or the lower abdomen. It might include the legs. Intense pain may recommend locations related to the urinary tract.
This treatment can be performed every day. If pain is extreme enough to warrant it, two treatments may be required, and would be completely safe.
In the absence of any pain, the acupuncture practitioner may choose to put the acupuncture needles into the kidney and the urinary bladder channel. This is meant to strengthen kidney energy and ultimately pass the kidney stone and restore proper urinary function. As a rule, this would probably be done once a week.
It is entirely possible for a patient who has been in great distress because of kidney stones to find great relief after just the first acupuncture treatment.