Does Acupuncture Hurt?
What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that involves stimulating the flow of the body's natural energy, called qi, to improve health, wellness and relieve pain. The stimulation of specifc points is done using very fine needles, which unfortunately concerns patients who are scared of needles. It is understandable that when needles are mentioned anywhere, one might naturally think of medical needles which are used for injections and drawing blood. Acupuncture needles are nothing like that.
Acupuncture needles are made using stainless steel and come in various lengths. They have a stainless steel shaft with the handle made out of copper, plastic or steel. As for their thickness, these needles also come with varying diameters depending on the condition being treated. Unlike the typical medical needles, acupuncture needles are extremely thin and are made with a fine point as opposed to the hollow bores used for conventional injections. Comparing the two, you will see that an acupuncture needle is so fine that you could fit about ten of them inside the bore of a traditional hypodermic needle.
Acupuncture needles do not hurt, but this does not mean that you will feel nothing completely. In some cases, these needles can be inserted into your body, and you won't feel anything. However, when undergoing standard treatments, you should expect to feel some form of sensation at the needling point. These needles are used to unblock the flow of qi throughout your body, and when qi starts flowing normally through the meridians, you should expect to feel something.
Everyone experiences this change differently but it should not feel sharp. If you start feeling sharp pain, point it out to the specialist, and they will remove the needle and try to insert it again.
So What Does it Feel Like?
One of the most common sensations you will feel is one of heaviness. Having a needle inserted into your skin can feel like a weight put on the area of insertion. As the flow of qi increases, this sensation may spread over the body. Note that this heaviness is not oppressive but calming. Aside from the weight, you might experience a small achy feeling at the needling point. This feeling might go away after some time or even intensify, especially on the feet and hands. You should also expect to feel tingly at the acupoints, something that normally happens when the needle is inserted. Lastly, you could experience a warm sensation a few minutes after the needles are inserted, a feeling that is similar to that of a heating pad being applied to various body parts.