Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

Is an acupuncture treatment painful?

I am a 32 year old female who will be having her first treatment. Is an acupuncture treatment painful?

20 Answers

No, it is not painful, although certain areas the body may be sensitive.
Most people do not find acupuncture painful. The sensation your feel can be pressure, tingling, electric, dull, but generally is very minor and fleeting. It releases many endorphins and feel-good hormones so it's actually a pleasurable experience!
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.

It has a quick pick in, but should be painless

Huan Wen Fang
Typically not.
Hi. Usually the most pain my patients reported is like a mosquito bite.

Acupuncture is performed using hair-thin needles (the diameter of a cat's whisker), only 1/10 the thickness of hypodermic needles, so, treatments are relatively painless. The majority of people experience no pain upon the insertion of needles. A small population may feel a slight pricking sensation, or you may also experience a dull, achy or itchy sensation. Some people feel an increase in stimulation to a specific area. A relaxed, euphoric feeling commonly accompanies deep relaxation and sleep. This is normal and is caused by energy flow changes.
Not by a skilled and licensed acupuncturist.
Acupuncture is incredibly effective at helping to calm and relax. With that said, it does use needles to do so. I like to say that there is a small pinch during the actual insertion (which takes a fraction of a second); after the needle is inserted, there should not be any pain (i.e. no stinging, stabbing or burning sensations). One might be aware of something there, they may be a dull ache or there may be noticing of the needle at all!
Traditional acupuncture should be virtually painless. At most, you may feel the insertion. After some manipulation, you should not feel much. Some patients report feeling a spreading, or warming sensation, but you should never be in pain or feel discomfort after insertion/manipulation. Be sure to communicate with your practitioner if anything is uncomfortable or painful.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment option. Treatment sensations vary individually but are generally very mild. Most times the needles present little to no pain sensation. The most important piece of advice I can offer is drink plenty of liquids prior to your treatment. Dehydration can increase the sensitivity. Be very open with your practitioner, they should be checking in with you. And you should feel comfortable to say if something hurts or you need them to slow down. If a needle is uncomfortable, let them know, they often times can adjust the needle so that it is comfortable, or they should just remove it and move on. Communication is key.
Congrats to you for trying acupuncture!!! Needling certain areas can be a little pinchy but mostly, it depends upon the technique of the practitioner. The needles come packaged inside of a guide tube. I use the tube to insert the needle to reduce the sensation. Most patients tell me it feels like a little mosquito bite or they don't feel it at all and are pleasantly surprised. Think of the alternative.... Surgery or some invasive treatment that may require the use of hyperdermic needles that are much thicker than acupuncture needles and filled with medicine which can burn. Acupuncture needles are solid and contain no medicine. It enlists the body to heal itself over time by natural means and it's very un-invasive. Good luck and enjoy your experience!!!!
No, we use very thin needles. Most people don’t feel it!
It shouldn't be painful.
How to say? A lot of acupuncture treatments are not painful at all, but some treatments can be painful because it depends on the skill; you need to find a skillful acupuncturist.
Acupuncture needles are typically not much thicker than a hair, and their insertion is practically painless. The sensation is not comparable to receiving an ordinary injection. In some cases, you will not even know the needles are in places. In others, there may be some tingling, warmth, or heaviness moving up and down the body. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing and many fall asleep during treatment.
As it was said before in a movie, "More than a pinch and less than your taxes." Some points are a bit tender, others are not. One way or another, it's worth it.

Be well, be confident, we can help.
You may feel a pinch when the needle goes in, that's normal. If the needle ever feels sharp, or like it's burning, or continues to pinch, tell your practitioner right away so they can move the needle to a more comfortable location.

You will often feel sensations from the needles such as traveling, spreading, heaviness, or pressure. These are also normal but they can be intense. If it's ever too strong, tell your practitioner and they can adjust their needling technique.
Generally treatments are minimally painful to zero painful, it all depends on the technique and strategy the practitioner is using. Some points are more painful to receive than others based on their physical location, but a well trained practitioner can even needle the more painful body areas with less pain than you'd get from a regular doctor.

Most often the patients get more relaxed after the treatment starts and once you're used to the initial prick and get a feel of what the needling actually feels like then you're anxiety over it can subside and you can even experience less pain. This is because the anticipation of pain creates a tension that can make the needling seem more painful, but once your are over the anticipation you receive it easier.

Find a good practitioner in your area and ask them your questions and let them know your worries and they should be able to talk you through your first experience kindly.

Good luck
Acupuncture uses thin filiform needles and are not painful.
This is a question I get a lot. It's very difficult to answer definitively because each person may experience different sensations as a result of acupuncture needles and a lot depends on who is providing the service. For the purposes of this answer, I'm going to assume you're seeing a licensed acupuncturist in your state - in other words: someone who attended and graduated from a school of Chinese medicine rather than a PT or chiropractor who took a weekend course.

First off, acupuncture needles are solid (filiform), not hollow like a hypodermic. Acupuncture needles are also much, much smaller in diameter than the standard hypodermic needle - I can fit roughly 3 of my acupuncture needles inside the hollow part of the average needle used for a flu shot. A good rough estimate of the diameter of a typical acupuncture needle is something on the order of a cat whisker.

Many people try to market acupuncture as a 'painless' technique and, technically speaking, this isn't necessarily true. You may experience a slight pinching or a sharp sensation on initial insertion - somewhat like a mosquito bite. This sensation should fade in a second or two, if it doesn't you need to tell your provider so that they can either reposition or remove the needle. Some points are more sensitive than others, so you may not feel every needle.

There are certain sensations that are normal with acupuncture. For those who've never had a treatment, these sensations are often interpreted as pain or discomfort. Things we consider normal:

1. A dull throbbing or aching around the needle site.

2. A short lived electrical, pins-and-needles type sensation that propagates up or down from the needle site.

3. A mild distending sensation, like someone is blowing a balloon up under the skin around the needle.

4. Mild itch around the needle site.

It's important that your provider explains fully what types of sensation you might experience and what sensations are "normal" or not concerning. It's also important for you to provide feedback on the needles. If any needle remains sharp or stabby-feeling after it has been in place for a few seconds, make sure your provider either removes or repositions that needle. Part of the idea of acupuncture treatment is that the patient is able to relax with the needles in place for 20-30 minutes. That's hard to do if one or more needles are giving a sharp, stabbing sensation.