It is most probably because Westerners are accustomed to injection needles that the question ‘does acupuncture hurt’ comes up so often. The traditional Chinese therapy of acupuncture makes use of needles that are different to those used in Western injections. They are also inserted in a very unique way, which is not painful and which is considered non-invasive. Let’s take a closer look at how acupuncture works and why it isn’t painful.
What Are Acupuncture Needles?
Acupuncture needles are very thin and generally made from stainless steel. This makes them flexible and allows your practitioner to manipulate them when they are under the skin.
Shorter needles are used near the face, while longer needles are used on areas of the body that have thicker tissues. The needles are only used once and are disposed of after usage.
How Are The Needles Inserted?
Acupuncture needles are inserted very carefully into meridians or acupoints. When they penetrate the skin it is not a painful sensation but more of a prick or awareness that something has penetrated your skin.
When the needles have been inserted your acupuncturist will manipulate them by twisting, turning or moving them around. You may feel some numbness, tingling, heat or energy around the site of the insertion. You will be aware that the needles have been inserted but the sensation is more like discomfort than pain.
The sensation you feel when the needles are inserted is known as De-qi. If it is not felt with the insertion of the needles, they may need to be manipulated further.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
A traditional form of Chinese medicine, acupuncture is based on the belief that the human body is composed of blood and Qi. Qi is energy that flows through the meridians of the body, transferring energy from one acupuncture point to another.
The meridians are channels throughout the body that link its different parts and which facilitate the flow of Qi.
What we expose ourselves to influences the flow of Qi through the body. Our diet, exercise, emotions, and the thoughts we think to ourselves can all cause blockages in our Qi. Through the gentle insertion of acupuncture needles and their manipulation, your acupuncturist can help to clear blockages and restore flow to your Qi again.
Acupuncture is a complementary therapy and is often used in conjunction with other treatments like moxibustion, cupping, and Chinese herbal medicine.
What Are The Benefits Of Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a non-invasive type of pain relief that is drug-free. It is also an appropriate form of treatment for a broad range of ailments both chronic and acute. It is a holistic modality that links the body, emotional state and mind and aligns them.
What Can You Expect At Your First Acupuncture Session?
During your first consultation with your acupuncturist, you will need to relay your medical history to your practitioner. You will also have a discussion about any symptoms you are experiencing.
Your practitioner will then examine you, checking your pulse at different parts of your body, looking at your skin, and checking for signs of other symptoms like sensitivities or coughs.
Based on the outcome of your consultation, the acupuncturist will create a treatment plan detailing the organs and meridians to be targeted, and estimate the number of sessions you may need.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is considered to be safe when it is carried out by a trained and experienced acupuncturist. There are few low-risk side effects, which can be managed by a relevantly qualified practitioner.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
No, acupuncture does not necessarily hurt. On the contrary, its primary objective is to manage and relieve pain.
When Can Acupuncture Be Beneficial?
If you have never experienced an acupuncture session before, you might find it useful if:
- Other treatments and forms of medicine have not given you a solution to your disorder
- You are experiencing an acute and unexplained condition, particularly pinpoint or localised pain
- You want a holistic form of treatment that provides, enables, and encourages your body, mind, and emotional being to self-heal.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years as a form of traditional medicine. Many generations have continued to use this therapy to manage their ailments and overall well being. While some discomfort may be experienced when the needles are first inserted once the initial experience is over, and the patient realises that the process is pain-free the rest of the needles go much easier. Tensing up can enhance the feeling so once you relax the process is a lot smoother.
If you still have questions about acupuncture as a potential treatment your next step should be to get in touch. Chat to one of our experts about your concerns, we’d love to hear from you: (02) 9159 6903.