Acupuncture needles are extemely fine and are typically 25-50 times thinner than the hypodermic needles used by physicians. Hypodermic needles cut tissue (much in the same way a straw can cut through a potato) so that they can inject medicine or draw blood. In contrast, hair-thin acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow, like a physician’s hypodermic needle. Therefore, they only push tissue aside during insertion. For this reason, acupuncture needle insertion is practically painless.
It is proven that much of what we experience as pain has an emotional component. Some people are very afraid of medical needles because of past experiences of pain, and the anticipation of feeling pain can increase the sensation of pain when it is actually experienced. But this does not make the pain any less real. When you are receiving acupuncture treatments at Natural Qi, it is always Melani’s intent that you be comfortable and feel very free to ask questions or express concerns. She provides a clean, safe, warm, comforting environment where fears can be calmed and anxiety dispelled.
Many people ask if acupuncture needles hurt when being inserted or when they are in place. Many acupuncturists use a needling guide tube, a very thin cylinder of sterilized plastic into which a sterilized needle is placed. The tube is placed directly on a point, and the handle of the needle is tapped once or twice, and the needle penetrates the first layer of skin. When the needle is first inserted, you may feel a slight, sharp prick at the point of insertion. This can be described as someone accidentally poking you with a sharpened pencil, or like someone pulling on a single hair. During their first acupuncture treatment, the vast majority of people unused to needling respond with relief by saying, “Oh! That’s it?”
Once the needle’s point passes through the superficial layer of skin, the acupuncturist may manipulate the needle with her fingers with a twirling motion, or moving the needles gently up and down. She may sometimes delicately maneuver the needle to reach the most effective depth and angle to achieve optimal stimulation of the point.
After the needles are inserted, they are left in place for a period of time. How many acupuncture needles used can depend on the natural of the ailment and treatment, and can be anywhere from a few to more than twenty. Usually, the majority of needles are placed at points located in Often, people are not even aware that the needles are in still in place once they are inserted. Once the needles are in place, some people experience a feeling of warmth, heaviness, pressure, tingling or a feeling of the qi moving through the channels. The needles in a typical acupuncture treatment will remain in place for fifteen to forty minutes depending on the ailment. Acupuncture tends to be very relaxing and many people fall asleep during treatments.