Does Acupuncture Hurt?

By August 9, 2018December 12th, 2019Acupuncture
acupuncture in eyebrows

A Carlsbad Acupuncturist Interview

Reporter: I’d like to introduce you to Nenita McElroy MSTOM, L.Ac. RN, a Carlsbad, California acupuncturist. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me and answer a question that seems to be on everyone’s mind when they first are considering getting acupuncture.

Does acupuncture hurt?
Well, that’s certainly one of the most common questions I hear about acupuncture at my practice in Carlsbad, Aviara Acupuncture. Typically the most that you’re going to feel is a little pinch or a little prick that will disappear within a couple of seconds. The reason is, we don’t go deeply in most acupuncture points. All we need to do is just go a couple of millimeters, under the skin. Most people don’t even feel it. In fact, many people fall asleep during our acupuncture treatment sessions and they feel very relaxed afterwards.

Reporter: I know I hated shots as a kid.

What about those who are very afraid of needles?
You should know there is a technique we can use in Carlsbad that the Japanese masters created over the millennia, because some of the Emperors didn’t like any type of pain. Japanese acupuncture is typically a shallower needling technique. We call it contact needling, where if a practitioner is utilizing the acupuncture needle it would just be just a millimeter or two insertion underneath the epidermis, the top skin layer. With contact needling we use certain tools, a probe for example, where we would stimulate the acupuncture point much like acupressure without actually penetrating the skin surface. Because the probe has a blunt end, we would just stimulate the point by deeper palpation and then we go onto the next point. That’s typically how Japanese acupuncture is done.

Reporter: I understand one of the reasons why acupuncture is less painful than you might think is because of specialized acupuncture needles.

How are acupuncture needles different?
First and foremost, they are solid, very thin, single use, and sterile. There’s no hollowness to them like hypodermic needles that people are afraid of, because they’re not used for giving medicine or drawing blood. This keeps them very thin and flexible. Really they’re about the thickness of a hair or a cat whisker. You have nothing to be afraid of.

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years and, we’ve learned best practices to keep patients as comfortable as possible. So much so, we even do acupuncture for facial rejuvenation which is very effective to help give women a youthful appearance. If it was painful, acupuncture wouldn’t be so popular. I’d recommend having a consultation and asking your acupuncturist all your questions.