One common assumption about acupuncture is that it hurts because the ancient treatment uses needles. Fear of needles is natural and is one of the most common reasons why some people shy away from acupuncture treatments. Many who try acupuncture for the first time are astonished that it does not hurt. In fact, most people who try acupuncture are thrilled when the treatment provides safe and effective pain relief without drugs or surgery.
The reason acupuncture needles do not hurt is because they are very thin, usually thinner than a human hair. In fact, an acupuncture needle is so thin that it will bend when you touch the tip. An acupuncture needle usually only goes about one-quarter of an inch into the skin, barely breaking the surface, but they may sometimes go a little deeper into areas with fat or thick muscle mass.
Sensations Associated with Acupuncture
While acupuncture should not cause pain and sharpness should occur only rarely, you may feel other sensations during treatment. Many people describe a heavy feeling at the needle insertion site as the practitioner introduces the needle. The heaviness may stay confined to the insertion site or it may spread. Patients describe the heavy feeling as calming rather than oppressive. Sometimes achiness will accompany the heaviness.
Other patients report a tingly or electric sensation. Some acupuncture techniques, known as needling of acupuncture points, can send a jolt of your body’s natural energy through an acupuncture point. Many patients describe a comfortable, warm sensation engulfing the insertion point around the acupuncture needle.
After just one acupuncture treatment, most patients realize the needles do not cause pain but rather bring safe and effective pain relief in a way other treatments cannot. These patients return for acupuncture treatments regularly to reduce pain, increase energy, boost stamina, and to improve the overall quality of life.