People who are thinking of going to an acupuncturist for the first time frequently ask, “Does it hurt?” It is difficult to answer that simple question. Some patients show very little sensitivity to the needles and do not feel anything when they are inserted. On the other hand, there may be an increased sensitivity in particular meridians, showing an energy imbalance. Some patients may feel more needle sensitive on one occasion than on another.

The needles should not cause pain when inserted. Nevertheless, there is a “needle sensation” which may be described as a tingling or feeling of numbness radiating from the needle. This sensation tends to differ from patient to patient and also depends upon the particular points chosen. Sometimes there is also a distinct twinge as the needle comes into contact with the energy at the point, but this is only momentary. The points in the forearm and lower leg are the most frequently used and tend to give more needle sensation than those on the trunk or head.

In general, however, treatment should not be painful and when the needle sensation occurs, it should only last a few seconds. Acupuncture bears no resemblance to the feeling of getting an injection. The needles used in our clinic are extremely fine and made of highly polished stainless steel.