Numbness is an absence of feeling. It can be produced temporarily by chemical anesthetics. Persistent lack of feeling in any part of the body, however, indicates a neurological disorder.
Severing any nerve with a sensory component will result in numbness peripherally. Acupuncture cannot repair severed nerves. Many cases of numbness, however, result from nonsevering injury or pressure on a nerve. Acupuncture can be very effective for treating such conditions, especially after spinal injuries.
Restoring feeling and function takes many more acupuncture treatments than relieving pain. A few patients experience a dramatic return of feeling during the first treatment, and some by the time they have had six treatments, but others have had more than 20 treatments before their numbness was relieved.
When numbness accompanies paralysis, return of feeling to the involved part often comes before return of function. The first sensation is usually one of warmth followed by a period of paresthesia, which may be somewhat uncomfortable until normal feeding is established.
Diagnostic procedures to determine the cause of numbness and appropriate treatment, if available, should be undertaken before acupuncture. Nutritional therapy may be helpful along with acupuncture.