Does acupuncture hurt? No, acupuncture does not usually hurt when performed by a trained acupuncturists.
There are many feelings associated with acupuncture. Feeling is good! It means that the acupuncture points are stimulated and they will being the healing process.
How does acupuncture feel?
Acupuncture usually does not hurt. After the needle is inserted you can feel numbess, tingling, movement, heaviness, or a feeling of floating. This is called “Getting the Qi” and it means that the acupuncture points are properly stimulated.
Getting the Qi
Qi is the energy which flows through channels on the body. Acupuncture stimulates the movement, production, and balance of Qi.
Getting in the Qi, traditionally called De Qi, is when I stimulate the acupuncture needle to stimulate the acupuncture point. You will feel the acupuncture point grab the needle and if there is a trigger point, the muscle under the acupuncture point will twitch.
This is getting the Qi which has been described as the feeling of catching a fish with a string.
After the initial stimulation, there may be a feeling of numbness, heaviness, movement, or warmth which is a sign of the stimulation of the body’s Qi.[1,2] When this happens, it is a sign that the points are stimulated correctly. People will often fall asleep during the acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture Stimulates the Body to Heal Itself
Acupuncture needles are very small, thin, and solid. Nothing is injected during the acupuncture treatment, the acupuncture only stimulates your body to begin the healing process. I like to think of it as acupuncture reteaches the body how to be healthy.
1. MacPherson H, Asghar A. Acupuncture needle sensations associated with De Qi: a classification based on experts’ ratings. J Altern Complement Med.2006;12(7):633-637; PMID: 16970533.
2. Tian DS, Xiong J, Pan Q, et al. De qi, a threshold of the stimulus intensity, elicits the specific response of acupoints and intrinsic change of human brain to acupuncture. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.2014;2014:914878; PMID: 25228908.