Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

Is an achy feeling normal in acupuncture?

In my last acupuncture, I had an achy feeling once the needles were placed. I mean, it wasn't uncomfortable but it didn't feel right. Was this achy feeling normal?

35 Answers

It happens sometimes... it is the energy trying to move, as all pain in acupuncture results from stuck energy. I certainly would not think this is a cause for concern unless the pain lasted beyond a few minutes or after needles are retracted/removed.
A Dull sensation, after the needles are placed, are commonly experienced by many patients. This is a very normal feeling. If it is a burning feeling, or it "didn't feel right" you should mention it to your Acupuncturist, and a readjustment will be made.
Yes, once the needle is inserted and reaches the point at its designated depth, it is very common to feel a mild and/or dull ache or a slight tingling sensation.
Ache is different when it comes to needle sensation. Dull, traveling, jumping myosensation are fine. Burning or electrical shock are bad and usually not tolerable.
It can certainly happen from time to time. I'm not sure what you were being treated for but you may have had a really bad stagnation. I hope the treatment helped you!
Everyone has different experiences with acupuncture, so there really is no "normal". What you may have been feeling is Qi flow, and sometimes that feels funny or even uncomfortable at times. If things are blocked, the needles have a way of unblocking, or breaking up things that have been stuck for a long time, and that can be painful. But if the pain persists, then you should definitely talk to your acupuncturist about it. Good luck!!!
If you feel a sensation like distinction, it’s normal. Actually, it means that the energy is moving.
Aching is normal and actually a sign that your body is working with the treatment. During (and sometimes after) treatments you may also feel heaviness, pressure, traveling or spreading sensations from the needles. This is your body's qi, or energy, interacting with the needle's stimulation of the acupuncture point.
No, not that normal. There might be something wrong.
An achy feeling during an acupuncture treatment is normal or some people. It doesn't happen to everyone, but it is a normal occurrence.
Yes, it is very normal to have an acupuncture treatment, specially when you get a "regular normal" Chinese acupuncture for pains. This sensation can last a couple of hours to one or two days, depending on the body constitution and previous administration of pain killers.
Achy feeling is very common in acupuncture treatments.
Hi there, always consult with your primary physician before seeking other form of treatments. Having said that, it is normal to have different type of feeling when being punctured and it's also depends on the size of the needles as well. Some acupuncturists use very fine needles and some use a littler thicker needles. Some patients can experience sensation such as tingling, achy, nothing, pain, electric shock, numbness, and or sometimes bleeding. Nevertheless, if it bothers you then you should tell the acupuncturist. Based on studies, achy feeling is normal.
It's hard to say for sure what you were feeling, but certainly the feeling of qi or energy in the channel can often be described as a deep achy feeling, which usually lessens as you rest with the needles.
Upon needle insertion, sensations of heaviness, dull, and achy is normal. Depending on each patient's tolerance level, the achy feeling may be decreased by changing the angle depth of the needle. Don't be shy to tell your acupuncturist if the same problem occurs again.
That achy feeling is completely normal. In fact, it is a sign of the arrival of qi (the body's energy) to the area, which is important for an effective treatment. Any kind of heaviness, dull ache, or similar feeling is both normal and a sign of an effective treatment.

Many blessings,

Caitria Thiele, LAc MSOM
Yes, a sensation that is often described as "heavy" or "thick" is the natural phenomenon of the acu pressure point being activated. Often, a strong sensation can cause more therapeutic effect.
A dull achey feeling after the placement of needles is what we call Da Chi. It is essentially your body’s energy swiftly reacting to the mini injury the needle has just created. It is considered as a good thing as long as the patient is able to relax. Many times new patients that come in very depleted don’t experience much sensation or da chi until after a few visits
when there chi has increased to be ample enough to have such reaction. I would encourage you to tell your provider about any sensations that come up and if the sensations are anxiety provoking and the practitioner leaves the room ask for a small bell just in case.
Thank you for your question.

Most of the time, what might be described as pain is a chi sensation. It can be heavy, throbbing, aching, or jumping. This can vary due to your level of pain tolerance and overall sensitivity. Sometimes your first acupuncture treatment will be more painful than your following treatments. This could be because certain energy points on your body are being activated for the first time. Your symptoms may worsen slightly before they get better. Pain isn’t a negative thing, but you don’t want it to last. Most of the time, it dissipates. If it doesn’t decrease during the treatment, as the acupuncturist to take the needle out. Some acupuncture points are very close to nerves and a nerve could be causing the discomfort.

Dr. B
It is normal. Though I tend to not make that happen. Sometimes that brings healing. Some people call it chi sensation but it could be puncture thru vessels so let the practitioner know when you feel that.
It happens, and you should ask your acupuncturist.
Occasionally, one may experience an ache best described as deep, pulling and dull. We often refer to this feeling as "de qi," meaning the qi, life force, is flowing to that area and 'pooling' into the acupuncture point. As a practitioner, it's what we try to achieve in order to get the best, effective treatment, but will not always happen. If you're feeling a more intense, sharp or burning pain, it may indicate that the needle insertion is too close to a nerve and you should ask the practitioner to adjust the positioning of the needle. If there is still no relief, he should remove it. If any emergent situations arise, please seek Emergency Medical Services (EMS) [911].

Live happy,

An achy feeling after the needles are inserted if often an indication that qi (energy) is doing its job of releasing stagnation in the acupuncture channel. Often the most tender points can give the best benefit.

However, if a blood vessel, nerve or tendon is punctured with a needle, there can be temporary discomfort from the irritation but this is usually experienced as a sharp pain or tingling sensation.
It is normal to have some sensation during the treatment. Sometimes, patients state that they don't feel anything and other times they feel a slight sensation as you described. It can also be: slight redness, itchiness. I always say to my patients if they feel uncomfortable to let me know and I will remove the needles right away. It is important for the patient to communicate with the provider, the way they feel.

Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
Yes! That achy feeling can be a couple of things. When Qi is activated within the channels by specific points it causes an immune response in the body - also known as the healing crisis. This causes a heavy, achy feeling around the points and can also spread within the channels. This actually means that the needles are working. It can also signify movement of stagnant Qi. One of the causes for disease is when Qi is stuck and isn’t flowing throughout your body properly - imagine a river that is stuck with degree. When the needles are inserted it can cause your body to move Qi and that can cause an achy feeling within the body.
Hope this helps.
The feeling of heaviness, pressure, numbness, or some similar discomfort following the insertion of an acupuncture needle is referred to as the "arrival of Qi" (energy). This is completely normal. Although the intensity of the sensation varies by the providers technique, most patients do not like this feeling and in my experience acupuncture does not need to be unpleasant in order to be effective.

Dr. Denny
It is normal to have some achy feeling upon initial insertion of the needles. This is one way of the qi going to the needle.

Yes, it is normal to have some uncomfortableness during treatment, if the feeling went away after needles were in. But you should always mention how you feel during the treatment to your doctor.


Scott Sang In Lee
I'm a little unclear as to what you mean by 'achy feeling'. Did you have a generalized achy feeling in the body or was it more of an achy feeling around one or more of the needles?

If it was an achy feeling around one or more of the needles, yes, that's totally normal. Your acupuncturist should have given you some guidelines as to what normal and abnormal needle sensations might feel like so that you could gauge what was going on.

There are several sensations a patient might experience during acupuncture: a dull ache around the needle site, a distending feeling around the needle (like someone is blowing a balloon up under the skin), a short lived electrical sensation that propagates up or down the limb/body - these are all normal needle sensations.

After insertion, any needle that feels sharp or stabbing is not normal and should be addressed by the practitioner through repositioning or removal.

Now, if we're talking about a more generalized body ache after the needles were all in, that could be a different thing. Most of the time, we want the patients to have a mild sensation around one or more of the needles, but we also want you to be able to relax while you're resting with the needles in. A generalized body ache could be indicative of a few different things. Without seeing you and evaluating your presentation against the treatment provided it's difficult to speculate what might have happened.

My best suggestion would be for you to have a conversation with your provider and see what they think. It may be that they need to modify the points they're choosing and your feedback might give them the pieces of information they need to correct their diagnosis and make sure this doesn't happen again.

There are a variety of sensations that can happen in response to an acupuncture insertion. It ranges from a mild ache/tingle to an itchy feeling or can be as intense as a muscle jump or "jolt" running up or down. There are many other sensations people experience, even in different parts of the body that weren't directly needled (i.e. "felt in the feet when needling the hands").

The key thing is to stay in communication with the practitioner - there are some feeling that we are actually looking for and some that may be inappropriate. If what you feel is "pain" i.e. too much for you to bear, than definitely tell your practitioner so they can remove or adjust the needle.
Usually, we look out for a few sensations. 1. A deep pressure, like an elephant sitting on the needled area. 2. Buzzing or electricity, like static. 3. Aching/throbbing. 4. Sharp, stabbing pain. The only one that is undesirable is the 4th sensation of sharp stabbing.
If during the insertion, you have a mild achy sensation, this is normal. During the needle retaining time, it should not. If you do feel it, you should ask your doctor to adjust the needle. Needles can cause the muscle spasm before releasing muscle tension locally. When this sensation does not disappear in longer than 60 seconds, it should be adjusted. Otherwise, the feeling can last for the entire treatment duration.
If the achy feeling was at the site of the needles, then yes, that is normal. It's called de qui, and Chinese practitioners feel that it's necessary for the treatment to be effective. (Japanese style does NOT require that feeling, which it why I prefer to use it on my patients.)

If you mean you felt achy in other parts of your body, it could be that the qi was hitting stagnation points, which is also normal. So not to worry, it's all part of the process.
Yes, it's normal. That achy feeling is blood and qi (energy) moving into the area. Some other normal sensations during acupuncture are:

-Achy or heavy sensations
-Twitches or spasms (generally painless)
-Itching and tingling, especially on the nose
-Stomach noises
-The sensation of something (qi) moving around through the body
-Feelings of peacefulness or even euphoria
-Strong emotions. Crying, happy, sad, mad, giggling (let it all out)
-Feeling sleepy and relaxed
Each individual person might experience different sensations. Yes achy can be one of them