It isn’t unreasonable to assume that being poked with dozens of tiny needles would induce a pain response from the body, but in reality does acupuncture hurt? We already talked about this and some of the other myths surrounding acupuncture, but the largest one typically asked–does it hurt?–requires more explanation. To explore the answer to this question, we should look at how and why the treatment works and what the treatment is supposed to do to help health.
Acupuncture is a treatment developed centuries ago in China that has gained popularity in the United States beginning in the 1970s. Very thin needles are inserted along the body at various points that correspond with energy centers. The treatment unblocks these areas of the body and allows energy to flow better throughout.
Because of the small size of the needle, acupuncture should not induce a painful reaction. While you may experience various sensations, the feeling of pain is not normally one of them.
Acupuncturist and author Sara Calabro suggests that the sensation of the needle being inserted shouldn’t feel much worse than a mosquito bite. She describes the five most common sensations you will likely feel with acupuncture as:
- Heaviness: The needle can feel like a weight being placed on your body.
- Achiness: A throbbing sensation can sometimes occur but usually dissipates quickly.
- Electricity: You may feel a small jolt or a zap like an electric shock as the needles are inserted.
- Tingling: There may be a light tingling sensation at the insertion site or throughout the body like you might experience when your foot or hand falls asleep.
- Warmness: A pleasantly warm feeling may flood your body as the needles are inserted.
To read more about Calabro’s description of these sensations, you can read the entire article at her site, www.acutakehealth.com.
As with any therapy, it is important to know as much as you can before you begin treatments. Talk to an acupuncturist or another healthcare professional licensed in acupuncture treatments to find out more about the practice.
Have you had experience with acupuncture? What did it feel like for you?
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