Does Acupuncture Hurt?

One of my favorite things to do as an acupuncturist is to help patients who are very nervous about needles (i.e. pain) overcome their fears and experience that acupuncture can actually be a very comfortable, enjoyable, relaxing experience.

I hear people mention they have avoided trying acupuncture because they “hate needles” or are afraid it will cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. This could be a logical concern if your only experience with needles has been through injections or giving blood at the lab. Unlike the hollow-core needles used in those situations, acupuncture needles do not take anything out of or insert anything into the body. They are therefore much, much, thinner (as thin as a thick strand of hair) and very flexible. The needless we use are sterile, single use, surgical stainless steel needles that slip easily and comfortably between the tissue to activate the acupuncture point.

What does it feel like?

A variety of sensations can be felt but I always tell my patients you should never feel pain. Pain makes the muscles tense up and inhibits circulation. Not a lot of effective healing is happening when the body is in this tense, defensive, anxious state. You should be able to relax and just let the treatment do its work!

Acceptable and desirable sensations with acupuncture can include:

  • Comfortable pressure
  • Gentle warmth
  • Coolness
  • Tingling
  • Water rushing sensations
  • A dull, comfortable ache or throb
  • Feeling the needle on the opposite side of the body where the needle is not
  • A brief pinch when the needle is first inserted that fades right away
  • Not even realizing the needle is in

Acupuncture is not a “no pain, no gain” modality*. Greater intensity isn’t always better. Accurate and thoughtful selection of points is key. Your acupuncturist should make you feel at ease, be sensitive to how you are feeling and responding to each point, and be able to make adjustments accordingly.

If you would like to give acupuncture a try but have been nervous about needles, I encourage you to make an appointment and I will be happy to coach you through the process in a slow and gentle way that doesn’t go beyond your comfort zone. Between the relaxing effects of acupuncture and our clean, private rooms each with soft music and heated tables, this could end up being your favourite appointment of the day!

We also offer laser acupuncture at Acubalance if you are most comfortable starting with this treatment.

To book an appointment or free 15 minute consult with Christina Cecconi, you can reach Acubalance Wellness Centre at: 604.678.8600

Does acupuncture hurt? Acupuncture Vancouver BC