Does Acupuncture Hurt?

By Julie Segall Lic. Ac., Dipl. CH

Many people will not try acupuncture because they are afraid that the needles will hurt or that the experience will be unpleasant. This is really a tragedy, as acupuncture has the capacity to effectively treat a variety of chronic health conditions that typically do not respond to other forms of intervention.

The truth of the matter is that nobody really likes needles. We are generally conditioned to have an aversion to them because of the trauma involved in getting shots and other procedures using hypodermic needles. ' Most new patients confess that they don’t like needles, -- and most are very surprised by how pleasant the treatment actually is, even though it involves needles.

There are times where you can feel an insertion prick with the needles that lasts for a couple of seconds. You can also feel a nervy sensation that radiates through the area being worked on for a brief period of time. Other sensations include a dull achiness or pressure around the needles. 

Many traditional Chinese doctors use a more aggressive style of needling that involves strong stimulation and thick needles. I have found this to be a turnoff for many Westerners, as excellent results can be achieved without having to induce strong sensations around the needles.

Once the needles are in place, you should begin to relax and sink into a dreamy “zone” that fluctuates between sleep and deep meditation.

If you are interested in acupuncture but are reluctant to try it because of the potential pain involved in treatment, I encourage you to move through that fear, as you will likely find acupuncture to be a pleasant, gentle, and very effective form of treatment for your health care needs.

I hope this helps you overcome any apprehension so you can get proactive about your health using this ancient and powerful form of medicine.

Return to the Articles Page


First Name *
Email *