Does Acupuncture Hurt?

It may seem hard to believe that being on a table with needles in you is comfortable and relaxing. 

But the fact is that most of the time acupuncture is just that.

Can it hurt? Sure but it really shouldn’t.

First, you need to know that acupuncture needles are very different from medical needles used to give injections or draw blood. Those needles are designed with a hollow core, so they can push substances into the body, or take blood out. Necessarily, the needles are thicker to accommodate that hollow center. Acupuncture needles on the other hand are very thin and very sharp which actually allows them to enter the skin easily and with minimal discomfort. Many acupuncture needles can actually fit through the core of one hypodermic needle.

In fact, I did an experiment and found that 7 acupuncture needles can fit through a medium gauge hypodermic needle.

Second, there is a difference between sensation and pain.

I would be lying if I said there was no sensation associated with acupuncture. In fact, one of the benefits of acupuncture is that it puts us in touch with our bodies. Being in touch means sensing and experiencing through the body. When acupuncture needles are inserted, there can be a quick sensation of ‘sharpness’, but it doesn’t last for more than a flash, and often patients don’t feel it at all. I hardly ever hear my patients say ‘ouch’.

After the initial sensation during insertion, common feelings are warmth, release, tingling, and a slight but comfortable achiness. These sensations often quiet down, and many times I find that the experience is so comfortable and restful, my patients actually fall fast asleep.

Lastly, responsiveness of the acupuncturist is key to your experience.

It’s really important that you tell your acupuncturist if you feel any discomfort, because this is not the intention. Needles can be adjusted and/or take out to ensure your comfort. If your acupuncturist says it is supposed to hurt, I would consider another acupuncturist..,

In short, I believe that acupuncture should not be painful, period.

Give it a try. We bet you’ll love it.

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