acupuncture needles - do they hurt

Does Acupuncture Hurt Or It’s Just A Fear Of Needles

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy that’s originated in China and has been around for over 2,000 years. This technique is a part of traditional Chinese medicine and used to balance the flow of energy, also known as chi, or qi. Qi is believed to flow through specific pathways in your body. The goal of acupuncture therapy is to remove energy blockages from these pathways and restore your energy flow to help regulate your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Acupuncture uses thin, solid metal needles to stimulate specific points along these pathways. These needles have a round edge, and they don’t cut the skin.

acupuncture needles - do they hurt

Does It Hurt?

One misconception about acupuncture therapy is that it hurts, and that’s why some people don’t want to give it a try. In reality, the treatment is not meant to hurt, though you may experience some numbness or tingling sensations during the procedure.

Most people being treated don’t feel anything. In a majority of cases, what might be called as pain is a chi sensation. It is a collection of positive responses that can be heavy, throbbing, or jumping.

Chi sensation can vary from person to person due to overall sensitivity and the level of pain tolerance. Sometimes your first acupuncture therapy will be more uncomfortable than following sessions. This could be due to the stimulation of specific energy points on your body for the first time.

Mild pain during the therapy is not a negative thing, but patients don’t want it to last. Most of the time, it dissipates. If you continue to feel it, ask your therapist to take out the needle.

does acupuncture hurt - needles and forehead

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Acupuncture usually doesn’t cause pain or discomfort; however, the experience will be different for everyone.

A safe and effective acupuncture session doesn’t need to hurt. It’s good to feel the Chi sensation such as heaviness and dullness. These are supposed to be positive responses and usually mean that something good is happening.

In most cases, patients won’t feel the needles being inserted, because of their thin, round edges. You are likely to feel a slight tingling sensation or a mild, dull ache once a needle reaches its intended depth. This may be a sign that the therapy is working fine, and the specific energy point is being stimulated. You may also feel an electric or heavy sensation.

If you feel anything severe or sharp pain, you should let your therapist know. Most of the time, pain or distress will be fleeting and last just a few seconds.

what does acupuncture feel like

What Causes the Pain?


Practicing wrong acupuncture technique such as inserting needles more deeply or using higher-gauge needles is more likely to cause sharp pain. Some practitioners use a heavier technique or more force when inserting the needles. Therefore, you must see a licensed and experienced acupuncture specialist for treatment.

Speak up if you are experiencing a sharp pain that is beyond mild ache or discomfort. You can also ask your acupuncturist to use fewer needles, proceed slower, and manipulate them less.

Sometimes the troublesome symptoms could be due to a poor needling technique. If successive therapy sessions are hurting, you should consider trying a different practitioner.

what causes pain during acupuncture