DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT
EVERYONE’S FIRST QUESTION
The simple answer to this question is “no”. Most first time patients are surprised and pleased to find that acupuncture treatment is a relaxing and pleasant experience.
It is important to understand that acupuncture needles are nothing like the needles used to administer injections or collect blood (called hypodermic needles). Hypodermic needles have thick, rigid shafts with an angled tip that is designed to slice through skin and muscle (see size comparison to the right). In contrast, acupuncture needles are very thin – about the diameter of a cat’s whisker. Because they are so thin, acupuncture needles are very flexible. In addition, they have a highly polished surface and a rounded tip that is designed to pass painlessly through the skin and body tissues without causing damage or bleeding.
Many patients do not experience any sensation when the needle penetrates the skin, but some people feel a prick similar to a mosquito bite or a mild stinging sensation. When the needle reaches the correct depth, some patients feel a dull ache, a tingling sensation, or a sense of distention under the skin. This sensation dissipates quickly, and most patients experience a sense of deep relaxation and calmness for the remainder of the treatment. Many patients actually fall asleep while the acupuncture needles are in place.