Needle insertion. Acupuncture needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes little discomfort. Providers will quickly tap the needles into your skin. Between five and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. Some may be placed deeper than others, depending on what the provider believes is needed to restore the flow of chi. You may feel a mild aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth. Needle manipulation. Your practitioner may gently move or twirl the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles. Needle removal. In most cases, the needles remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no discomfort when the needles are removed. Every provider is different, but in most cases treatment lasts for 15 minutes to an hour. You may have several visits to complete your treatment. Some people have ongoing visits. The acupuncturist should use single-use disposable sterile needles to prevent infection.