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As we accumulate frequently asked questions, we will answer in “Ask the Doctor” posts (obviously after responding immediately to the persons asking the questions originally)!
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A little, and only for a few seconds.
Acupuncture involves using fine hair-thin needles inserted through the skin. Because we are breaking through the skin, you will feel a small pricking sensation. The vast majority of acupuncture patients report that this is the only time that they feel discomfort, if they feel it at all.
Some acupuncture points elicit more sensation due to where they are located, for example, points in the feet and hands tend to be more sensitive. Also, some acupuncture points create tingling or radiating sensation because of the nature of the point – we expect to elicit this response if we are needling the correct location.
Specific treatments may also elicit more discomfort than others. For example, treatment of acute injuries having inflammation and swelling such as sciatica or ankle sprain will have some discomfort, as almost any treatment of a condition involving active inflammation would.
Another common example in my practice where people will sometimes comment on sensitivity us in natural labour induction. There are points that need to be stimulated to encourage labour and contractions to begin: these points may be tender.
The pain is so subtle and short-lived and acupuncture is so effective that I would highly recommend it for anyone to try. I use it every day with more than 60% of my patients.
Posted: 2014 July 16