Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

Does it hurt when acupuncture needles are inserted in the body?

Do acupuncture needles hurt when inserted in the body? I want to go for acupuncture to treat my headaches but I am scared of the pricking.

35 Answers

You will feel a little bit needle pricking sensation occasionally. Most patients don’t feel pain. It’s a dull, heavy sensation. And it’s called De Qi (get the Qi). It’s a great sensation and that means the needle is working properly. For headaches, acupuncture is the best treatment for instant pain relief.
Occasionally, you may feel a very slight sting on insertion if the needle stimulates a surface nerve. This is less than you will feel with a hypodermic needle which are meant for cutting and slicing tissue. Acupuncture needles are filiform meaning no slicing edge. Many points you will feel nothing at all or simply a pressure, warmth or slight dull ache at he point or along the channel. The amount of stimulation and sensation will vary according to practitioner as well as patient sensitivity levels. We consistently receive feedback that it really doesn't hurt at all and the relaxation effect is totally worth it. However, some people are simply very sensitive and feel more. A more gentle technique can be used in these situations to make it more enjoyable.
Acupuncture is not painful, in fact, people often report a euphoric and pleasurable feeling from acupuncture. Occasionally, a small pinch may be felt as needles are inserted, like a bug bite, but quickly goes away. The benefits far outweigh the slight discomfort.
You should not be afraid. Just communicate with your Acupuncturist. Needless to say, all surgeons were not created equally, and neither are all Acupuncturists. Find an Acupuncturist that you can trust and clearly communicate with.
No, most people don’t feel any pain if administered by a good acupuncturist. Needles are usually around a quarter of a millimeter in diameter (.25mm) which is hair thin, it’s approximately 50 times smaller than a hypodermic needle used for injections. Sensation can vary from a small pinch to heaviness to tingling. Most of my patients are nervous at first but become amazed at how it doesn’t hurt.
There is not the type of pain associated with an injection. There might be a mild pinch. The needles are so thin that the insertion is virtually pain-free. The Qi sensation can feel like a pressure, a trickle of water, or electricity moving from one area to another. While perhaps unusual, these sensations will never be painful. Whatever you experience is normal and a sign that your body is getting into balance.
The sensations vary. There may be a small pinch or a slight ache. Generally, there is more sensation the closer the points are to the fingers and toes and less if they are closer to the center of the body. Because of how tiny they are (about the size of 2 human hairs) and because their points are tapered like a pencil lead, not cut diagonally like a hypodermic, beyond the initial insertion, there is a small, gentle spreading of the tissue as they go in. Regardless, it is less sensation than one might feel if they accidentally prick their finger with a straight pin.
Acupuncture does not hurt, but there will be some sensation; you might feel a little pricking.
There is usually a small prick, similar to when a mosquito bites. Some practitioners are more gentle than others too. In general, acupuncture does not hurt, and it's a great option for headaches!
It should not hurt, but you will have a sensation when the needle reaches the point.
Look for a practitioner that does Japanese acupuncture. It is quite painless. Most of my patients fall to sleep.
I always ask my patients, what hurts more, your headache or a little prick? Most of the time, the insertion of acupuncture needles does not hurt, but keep in mind, it is a fine needle penetrating the skin. Some points may be more sensitive than others. However, once the needles are all inserted, patients state they feel relaxed and europhoric. So it depends of the individual
There are many sizes of needles and different ways to needle. Some people are more sensitive to the needles and some people feel absolutely nothing. It is best to communicate how you are feeling during the session so that the practitioner can make what ever adjustments need to be made to suit your body and needs.
For most, it's painless. A slight pinch is all you may feel. Some folks are very anxious or had traumatic experiences warranting a guarded/highly anticipating moment during the procedure. Usually this calms down after a few sessions. It's a very small percentage of folks who find acupuncture too difficult to handle. And yes, there are other ways to apply acupuncture therapy painlessly.
Acupuncture needles are not the needles people are familiar with in the doctor's office, and the sensation is remarkably different. An acupuncture needle is solid, as thin as a strand of human hair, and has no drugs in it. We use only pre-packaged, sterilized, disposable acupuncture needles made of surgical stainless steel, which cause no damage to the tissues and organs. We discard them after one use.
All of this means it is painless. you should try and it is not too bad. Most of my client doesn't even feel needles, but everyone is different. Try it

Have a good week

Huan Wen Fang
There is definitely a sensation at the site of needling but it is totally different the the shots sensation. Also the sensation varies by the parts of the body needled and also if there is energy stagnation in the body.
I have had many patients coming with the same fear just to laugh in the end of their own fear. Tell the acupuncturist about your concern and give the treatment a try. You can always stop if it is not comfortable.
Also look for acupuncturists who combine other modalities of treatment such as tuning forks or craniosacral therapy ( they will use less needles this way).

Acupuncture does hurt in certain spots in your body, but very minimally, if at all. The needles are as thin as your hair and not like injection needles.


Scott Sang In LeeChun Am Acupuncture천암 한의원 
Hurt seems like a strong word to describe it with a lot of variance in what that means. Minor discomfort would be the terms I would use to describe some points that you will feel. Many points will be painless. Regardless, there are alternatives to needles to stimulate the Qi/Energy, and you really shouldn't let your fear inhibit you from healing. 19/20 patients who express what you have expressed to me come in and try one needle, realize the discomfort is very minor and tolerable, and are surprised they were so intimidated by the concept of needle in acupuncture. They really are smaller than anything you have every experienced and it is hard to imagine a needle not hurting due to our past experiences, but it is mostly true that there is no pain with acupuncture.
Generally, an acupuncture needle is not painful when it's inserted into the body; it's like a mosquito's bite, but it is very painful at some points because they are special spots that most likely are the points having problems and specifically need to be treated.
The best answer to your question is "it depends." The average acupuncture needle is many times smaller than the average hypodermic (like for a flu shot), so any discomfort will be much less than for an injection or a blood draw.

Some acupuncture points can be fairly sensitive no matter how good the acupuncturist is. If a patient has been in chronic pain for a long period of time, sometimes any amount of pressure anywhere is painful.

Even though some will claim it, no one can guarantee a pain-free needle insertion. Here's what you could reasonably expect: There may be a pinching sensation on initial insertion. This should go away in a second or two. If the needle is inserted and a sharp, stinging sensation persists, you should tell your acupuncturist. They can often back the needle out a bit or re-position slightly so the sensation subsides or goes away entirely.

Feeling a dull ache, short-lived electrical sensation, or distention around the point after the needle is inserted is a good thing. We call it "de qi" and it means we're in the right spot for treatment.

That being said, *most* of the time, with *most* patients, needle insertion is painless.
Acupuncture needles are extremely thin. There is a little sensation when inserted, but no pain!
No, they do not. Some people experience a little sensation at the insertion site, but most people feel nothing at all.
Actually, acupuncture is painless if performed properly.
Acupuncture needles feel more like a pressure pinch than actual pain. You should definitely give it a try for your headaches.

Warm regards,

Aleksandra Dianova, L.Ac.
The pain associated with needle insertion mostly depends on the needle itself as well as the technique of the practitioner and also the location of the point where the needle is inserted. However, it is almost nothing compare to the injection needle you encounter at the doctor's office for vaccination. Our needle is solid, hair thin, very smooth surfaced with a guide tube so you may not notice whether it is inserted or not. Let the acupuncturist know about your fears and he or she will accommodate your concerns.


Sometimes yes, sometimes no; it depends on personality, age, health conditions, etc.
It should not feel like you are getting stuck with needles. Some sensation is normal but should feel like heaviness or achiness in the area of some of the needles. For more information, please visit our website<>
If Acupuncture is performed correctly, it should be fairly painless. I always tell my patients that I also work on children and they respond very well to acupuncture. If a child is comfortable with the therapy, then most likely you should be fine. Acupuncture is an excellent therapy to reduce and treat headaches.

Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
Acupuncture rarely "hurts." The most that people experience is a dull ache around the base of the inserted needle, or a slight tingling feeling when the needle is inserted. Points at the extremities, like the toe or finger ends, can sometimes be a little sharp, but the sensation is usually brief.
When patients receive an acupuncture treatment for the first time, they often report having a variety of sensations. Some people describe feeling a dull ache, a tingling or pulsating sensation, or experience nothing at all.

Romi Epstein, LAc
A skilled acupuncturist can help you feel comfortable. There may be a pricking sensation, but once the needles are in, you should be comfortable. Everyone is different with what they can and cannot tolerate. Talk with your acupuncturist about your experience. Ask if they use electrical stimulation, as some find this not as tolerable as others.
Depending on the Provider and the style they utilize. I suggest you type in that exact question in your search engine, then read the opinions of several individuals.
The short answer is, "it can, but it's not what you might think it would be." Generally, it is less painful than any fear justifies. It certainly is not the same as getting a shot or blood drawn (depending on the skill of the practitioner) because those are done with hypodermic needles, i.e., they have a hole in the center, so they are thicker. Acupuncture needles are a much smaller gauge, i.e., I can fit about 40 of my needles into the hole of a hypodermic needle.

If you have had any piercing (ear, nose, navel, etc.), then you have already pierced a thicker object into your skin. If you have a tattoo, that tattoo session is probably about 30 acupuncture treatments all at once. The one thing to remember is that you are already in pain with your headaches, the needling will release the stagnation to relieve the body. Does it hurt when someone takes out a splinter? Yes, but it is relieving the actual pain.

Most people feel a prick and then nothing, but you can also feel a twinge, a zap, some warmth, etc. If what you experience is "pain," tell the practitioner and they'll reinsert or reset and you should be fine.

Enjoy your experience, it will help you immensely.
Acupuncture needles do not hurt much at all. Actually, what you feel is the pressure point itself being "activated", so to speak. If you have headaches, the tiny initial prick is well worth results that last.
Don't be scared. You can have different sensations based on the part of the body that needs to be needled.
Everyone has a different pain tolerance and perception of pain. I have some patients who think certain needles are painful but it is very temporary and goes away as quickly as it comes. Others will fall asleep right as the needles go in and claim they can't feel anything.