Does Acupuncture hurt?
This is one of the most common questions, so you are not alone if your friend said they got acupuncture or suggested you get acupuncture and your first thought was- "doesn't it hurt!?!"
I can't say that acupuncture will never hurt, but my goal is to make it as painless as possible. If I didn't, I'd be out of work pretty quickly. I want you to leave here feeling better than when you came and presumably you came because something was out of balance physically or emotionally in a way that you were ready to try acupuncture hoping you could feel better.
I am very aware that no one wakes up in the morning thinking, "I think I'd like to get poked today." Well, at least no clients I have met in the last 7 years of practice in student clinic and private practice!
I know in my job as an acupuncturist I need to take special care to notice your breathing and tension in response to the idea of acupuncture when we do the initial intake (what are your questions, how nervous are you about it, what was your previous experience of acupuncture if you've had any) and also during the insertion of needles throughout the treatment (just because the first 5 were okay, doesn't mean that you won't start feeling stressed).
I want you to connect with yourself, your breath and relaxing into your parasympathetic nervous system during treatment. If you are really afraid, you will get stuck in a sympathetic fight or flight response and it will be harder to relax and get the most benefit from the treatment.
During insertion, some needles you will not feel, and some you will feel for a moment. Most needles will be comfortable. Occasionally a needle will be sharp, shooting. This is usually because part of the nerve was activated. Occasionally a needle will just feel irritating or uncomfortable. This might be because the needle is close to touching a tendon, blood vessel or nerve. The ones that stay pokey/pinchy might be irritating a hair follicle nerve root. This happens rarely, but they stay sharp and it's hard to relax around. All you need to do in any of these situations is let me know and I will adjust the needle.
Some treatments will have more sensation than others. On the days you have more sensation you might notice that one of the following is true for you- poor nights sleep, extra coffee that day, start of illness, start of period, increased anxiety about needle insertion.
As an acupuncturist, I am trying to help you connect with your body so your body systems can relax, rebalance and heal. I will always try to listen to your feedback, your breath and your tension response to create the least pain response for treatment. Will acupuncture hurt? Maybe. But only a little, and together we can keep that to minimal gentle pain. After all, I truly believe Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture are an excellent base for your wellness care and I want you to keep coming back so you can learn more how to care for your body and overall health.
Inspired Balance, LLC Sarah Aiken-Felling, MAOM, LAc 715-831-8998 www.inspiredbalance.com