Fear of needles is the number one reason people don’t try acupuncture. While some really do have a phobia of needles, the vast majority of people associate needles with pain. It’s a valid association; as kids, we quickly learned that getting a shot caused pain. And we don’t like pain.
But, this association should not be carried to acupuncture. Why? Acupuncture needles are completely different from the scary needles at the doctor. They are solid needles, not hollow like hypodermic needles, and they are much thinner – about the diameter of thick human hair. They’re so thin; they even bend at the touch!
So, if acupuncture doesn’t hurt, what does it feel like? When thinking about acupuncture, it’s important to differentiate between “sensation” and “pain.” It can be uncomfortable at times, but it doesn’t hurt. You may feel a quick sensation of sharpness when the needle first goes in. This discomfort only lasts for about three seconds, and then dissipates. The feeling is similar to pinching a tiny bit of skin between your fingernails.
So, acupuncture doesn’t hurt, but you definitely feel something. This “something” can vary from person to person, but here are the five most common descriptions of how acupuncture feels:
Heavy: An acupuncture needle can feel like a weight is being placed on a certain area of your body. This feeling of heaviness can be isolated, or can expand throughout your body. This is more of a relaxing heaviness, rather than stifling or oppressive.
Tingly: Most people agree they feel a light tingling sensation that spreads to a pleasant, warm numbness across the body. This can happen when the needle is first inserted, or while you’re just resting with the needles.
Warm: Acupuncture can be very relaxing, thanks to this pleasant, warm feeling. After a minute or two after a needle is inserted, a spreading sensation of warmth surrounds the pressure point, feeling like internal heating pads.
Electric: A feeling of electricity may occur from acupuncture, ranging from a mild, electric sensation that spreads in wave-like patterns to a surprising, quick jolt, like you’re being shocked. It usually disappears very quickly. One of the most common areas that cause this “zapped” sensation is the Pericardium 6, located on the inside of the wrist.
Soreness: Some people may feel muscle soreness, like after a moderate workout, once the acupuncture needles are removed. This most commonly occurs with points in the hands and the feet, but everyone reacts differently. Most of the soreness will disappear by the time you get home, but some experience soreness for up to 24 hours.
When a person literally feels an acupuncture point working, it’s called “de qi,” and it’s a good thing. “De qi” is when the needled has accessed some energetic material needed to produce movement in the body. When the point is activated, a charge is initiated. It means the acupuncture is working. Learn More
Learn firsthand how acupuncture feels. Book an acupuncture appointment at Dreamclinic today.