Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture should not hurt. It is normal to sometimes feel heaviness, aching or tingling around the site of the needle insertion, this is called the “De Qi sensation”, achieving this sensation has been shown in clinical studies to increase the effectiveness of the acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture needles are as fine as one or two strands of hair and cannot deliver the same sensation as a shot you would get at your doctor’s office. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not painful like injection or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle. From patient to patient and from point to point, however, reactions do vary, from completely painless to very sensitive, with most falling somewhere in the middle. The type and quality of needle used, along with the skill of the practitioner make a significant difference in the sensations experienced by the patient.
Few reject acupuncture on the basis of any temporary discomfort. Nearly all patients experience a significant level of relaxation and may even fall asleep during treatment. Following an acupuncture treatment, many patients feel a heightened sense of well-being which may last for several days.
For those who are unusually sensitive or who have an aversion to needles I’d be happy to discuss alternatives with you.