The medical art of Acupuncture is believed to be 2,500 years old. While it is widely known that acupuncture is effective in treating pain, it is also helpful in treating many other conditions--including but certainly not limited to anxiety, allergies, sinusitis, depression, digestive disordersand stress. It can even be helpful in weight loss and smoking cessation.
Regardless of its many benefits, the lingering question for many people is, does acupuncture hurt?
People often associate needles with painful medical experiences. Those who have not experienced acupuncture compare it to the only experiences they've had--injections or blood draws--and imagine it to be somewhat like that, only with more needles.
The good news is, it isn't like that at all!
The sensation produced by an acupuncture needle is much milder than a shot or having blood drawn. There are two reasons for this: first, acupuncture needles are solid rather than hollow in the middle; hollow needles hurt more. Second, acupuncture needles are much thinner than hypodermic needles. In fact, some are not much thicker than a human hair! The sensation of acupuncture is far less intense than plucking an eyebrow. To some, it is similar to the sensation of noticing a mosquito bite as it occurs. Sometimes, you don't even notice it!
The number of needles used during an acupuncture treatment depends on what is being treated. Some people feel the needle going in, but not everyone does all the time. Some points are more "sensitive" depending on which area they are in. (Places with lots of padding tend to be less sensitive.)
Once the needles are in, typical sensations may include a mild feeling of energy movement, a slight tingly feeling, or merely an increased sense of relaxation. It is not uncommon to be so deeply relaxed as to fall asleep during the treatment!
Still not convinced? There are alternatives to needles. In acupressure, acupuncture points are pressed with the practitioner's thumb rather instead of using needles. In Acutonics®, tuning forks are used in place of needles to stimulate the points.
Don't let a fear of needles hold you back from discovering the benefits that acupuncture can have for you!