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Acupuncture

What does Acupuncture Feel Like?

While the experience will be different for everyone, acupuncture usually doesn’t cause discomfort or pain. Usually, you won’t feel the needles, because they are thin and gently inserted. Once a needle reaches its intended depth, you’re likely to feel a mild ache or a slight tingling sensation. This may be a sign that the treatment is working, and the acupuncture point is being activated. You may also feel a heavy or electric sensation. Feelings of warmth may arise at the acupuncture points. If you feel anything that’s a severe or sharp pain, you should let your acupuncturist know. Most of the time pain or discomfort will be fleeting and last only a few seconds.

Using higher-gauge needles or inserting needles more deeply is more likely to cause pain. Certain brands of needles are also more likely to cause pain than others. Some practitioners use more force or a heavier technique when inserting the needles.

Speak up if you’re experiencing pain that is beyond mild discomfort. You can also ask your practitioner to proceed slower, use fewer needles, insert them more shallowly, and manipulate them less.

You can expect some points to be more sensitive than others. If a needle hits a small nerve, muscle, or blood vessel, you may feel some pain or a more intense sensation. A single sensation is fine if it is a brief sensation. Points on the extremities are more likely to produce stronger reactions in the form of dull aches or tingling. Points where there is less flesh, such as near the nails, can sometimes produce a sharper sensation. Most of the time, these sensations are short-lived.