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  • Karen Wright

Does Acupuncture Hurt?


The needles an acupuncturist uses are not the same as a doctor or nurse uses to give a shot or take blood. Our needles are very thin, slightly flexible, and are sterile single use and disposable needles. They are made of hypo-allergenic surgical steel.


Overall, acupuncture should not hurt. The act of tapping an acupuncture needle through the skin may have a quick little pinch feeling. If needles are used on the hands or feet there may be more sensation than elsewhere on the body, but the feeling of discomfort should only last a few seconds. Once the needles are in, it’s best to lay still and take a nap. The needles do insert into muscle, so moving an arm or leg may make the needle shift a bit and cause a light cramp like feeling. Really though, once the needles are in, people feel very relaxed and comfortable and are happy to lay quietly and sleep or just be with their thoughts.


The “sensation” I referred to above is different for everyone, and can feel different at each needle insertion point. The sensation may feel like a quick pinch, a dull ache (kind of like having an old bruise pressed), or like a quick bolt of electricity that doesn’t hurt. Or, it may not feel like anything. But, if your mind says “Ouch, that hurts!” you should tell your acupuncturist. Your acupuncturist can either reinsert or reposition the needle to relieve any discomfort.


If you feel nervous about receiving acupuncture, please let your practitioner know that! We can go slow, take it one needle at a time, and go with your breath. It is worth giving it a try. I know many people who are terrified of having their blood drawn, yet have no problem with acupuncture.


If you have any questions, please shoot me an email from the form on the home page. I’m always happy to reply!

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