The Truth About Whether Acupuncture Hurts or Not: Exploring the Sensations of Acupuncture Treatments
Acupuncture can be a relaxing and beneficial treatment for many people, but it does involve needles in the body. So, what level of discomfort can you expect during an acupuncture session? Find out how people perceive acupuncture sensations here.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is a holistic therapy used for thousands of years and works by stimulating the body’s healing process. During an acupuncture treatment, thin needles are inserted into specific points around the body to activate energy pathways (meridians) and allow qi (life force energy) to flow more freely. The needle-insertion sensation can vary from almost unnoticeable to mildly uncomfortable or slightly tender. Acupuncture treats various conditions, including pain, digestive issues, stress and anxiety, insomnia, and more.
What Can You Expect During Your First Session?
During your first session, the practitioner will ask questions to determine where the needles should be inserted and how they should be manipulated. You may feel pinching as the needles are inserted, and it may be slightly uncomfortable as they’re moved around. It’s best to communicate how you’re feeling to the practitioner; if specific areas become increasingly painful, let the practitioner know so that the needles can be removed or altered accordingly.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Overall, most people find acupuncture to be a very tolerable experience. There should be no extreme pain or unbearable sensations during the treatment. While some areas of the body may be more sensitive, the acupuncturist should always address any discomfort and make adjustments as necessary. Usually, acupuncture is pain-free or only causes minimal sensations that can be easily managed during the session.
What Can You Do to Minimize Discomfort?
If you’re apprehensive about the potential for discomfort during an acupuncture session, you can take steps to minimize any uncomfortable sensations.
- Make sure to communicate any sensitive areas, and talk with your practitioner about possible adjustments or alternative points of insertion.
- It can help to relax your muscles before the acupuncture treatment and focus on breathing in and out deeply while the needles are being inserted (diaphragmatic breathing).
If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional medical treatments, acupuncture may be the right choice. With its long history of use in Chinese medicine, it has been used to treat various conditions and ailments for centuries. Talk with your doctor or a qualified acupuncturist to determine if acupuncture therapy is right for you. If you live in the Chicago area, we offer free consultations with our acupuncturist to answer all your questions.
Is There Any Pain After the Treatment is Completed?
Generally, there is no significant pain after your acupuncture treatment is complete. Many individuals report feeling better immediately and improving health conditions with regular treatments. On rare occasions, specific points may cause a mild soreness for the first 24-48 hours following the acupuncture treatment; however, the sensation usually subsides quickly.
Why do the needles feel different at different points?
Depending on the individual’s constitution and sensitivity level, some may feel nothing; some may feel some strong points while others don’t feel at all; some points may have a dull ache, while another patient may feel a small zing at the same point.
Everyone’s experience differs and can evolve even within the same acupuncture treatment session, but many patients do feel sensations during acupuncture treatment.
The Style of The Needle
For some people, acupuncture may cause mild discomfort, but generally speaking, it is a painless therapy. Depending on the treatment area and the type of needles used, people feel various sensations when getting acupuncture, such as tingling, heaviness, warmth, cold, or a dull ache. At Ravenswood Chiropractic in Chicago, we only use single-use sterile needles, but some are made of different metals that work well for various conditions; and, there are different gauges and lengths of needles as well as some that are coated, so they are gentler during insertion.
The Treatment Area
The sensations felt also depend on where the needles are placed. Sometimes acupuncture needles are inserted into points closer to the body’s surface, like the extremities of the fingers or toes. These areas typically have more nerve endings and, therefore, can be more sensitive to needle insertion than points deeper in the body.
Your Constitution and External Factors
As we mentioned above, the sensations felt can vary depending on the patient’s constitution. It also varies by the individual and their body’s sensitivity. External factors like how well-rested or hydrated you are, where you are in your menstrual cycle, and even what you ate (or didn’t) that day can also influence the sensations you have during acupuncture treatments.
The Point Selected For Treatment
Acupuncture is considered a very safe and gentle procedure. However, some acupuncture points may be more sensitive than others, depending on their function in invigorating the flow of Qi in the body. Some points are specifically and inherently stronger than others because that is their function. Sometimes your imbalance is felt stronger at the points along the meridian that is out of balance.
About De Qi
Although some people do not experience much sensation during an acupuncture treatment, others may feel the needle insertion or the tingling sensation (called De Qi); that’s a sign it’s working. If you do not feel De Qi, that is OK; your acupuncture treatments are still working for you, and it is just your individual response.
Discover the Benefits of Acupuncture Treatments at Ravenswood Chiropractic in Andersonville
Generally speaking, acupuncture is a painless and relaxing experience. If you are curious about trying acupuncture, speak with an acupuncturist near you about how they make their patients comfortable during acupuncture treatments, or if you live in the Chicago area, you can schedule your free consultation with our acupuncturist here. You will find this option in the New Patient Scheduling Section.
Dr. Marlena Siroki, DACM, L.Ac. is an Acupuncturist in Chicago at Ravenswood Chiropractic & Wellness Center in Andersonville. Dr. Marlena received her Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago. She is a Nationally Board-Certified Acupuncturist and Herbalist and Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, certified by the National Certificate Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.