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I Don’t Like Needles, Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Acupuncture needles aren’t like the needles used in western medicine.

Historically the needles used in western medicine provide real justification for experiencing fear. When it comes to acupuncture, this is a question I get a lot. Does acupuncture hurt? I think we all remember the trepidation of getting shots as kids so the idea of voluntarily being stuck with needles seems down right terrifying.

Luckily acupuncture needles are a lot different than hypodermic needles and an acupuncture treatment is not at all like getting an onnoccuation.

First off an acupuncture needle is very thin. It’s about the thickness of a strand of hair. The thickness of a needle is measured in gauges. So an acupuncture needle- or at least the ones I use, are 40 gauge while a hyperdermic needle is often a 20 gauge needle. That means that a hyperdermic needle is 2x as thick as an acupuncture needle.

Another difference is that an acupuncture needle is solid and a hyperdermic needle is hollow because either something is being put into the body- say a medication or something is coming out- like blood.

So back to the question at hand, does acupuncture hurt? Generally, no. Sometimes at certain acupoints there can be a throbbing or achy feeling that diminshes after about a minute. This is not a bad thing. It actually indicates that the biochemical cascade that makes acupucture work is happening.
In general my patients feel nothing when I insert a needle and during a session they rest peacefully and sometimes even fall asleep.

I would love to hear about your experiences with acupuncture and alternative care, leave a comment or connect with me on social media and I will respond as quickly as my patient schedule allows.

  • John

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  • Dave

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  • Amber

    Hi – I’d love some advice as to why when I get acupuncture I feel such intense pain? Could I take a sedative before going or will that defeat the purpose? I go for weight loss and anxiety – it works miracles but for forty minutes I am in a highly painful highly conscious state of hell. Should I switch to acupressure?

  • Vanessa Gunter

    I always feel pain during my treatments – lots of pinching when the needles go in. I always feel better after my treatments, but I don’t look forward to the treatments themselves. I have to think long term in order to stay positive about the experience. I just wonder if I am alone in this because every website out there talks about how it doesn’t hurt and, I’m sorry, but it does.

  • Luke Yancey

    I didn’t know that the needles in acupuncture were so thin! My back has been hurting very badly lately. I think I am going to go and try it out. I was a little nervous about the pain, but you changed my mind. Thanks!

  • Acupro Academy

    The responses are interesting and honest. Everyone’s experience is a bit different! But the overall potential benefits are so huge that it’s worth finding out how your body will react.