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Is Acupuncture Painful?



Acupuncture generally is not painful.

More Info: When performed by a certified professional, most patients do not describe acupuncture as painful.

Acupuncture Needles versus Hypodermic Needles

Acupuncture needles are solid, slender rods made of stainless steel. The FDA regulates them to be single use and sterile. Unlike hypodermic needles that are hollow and require cutting edges to penetrate the skin (as pictured above), acupuncture needles vary in size from the width of a hair strand to the width of a sewing needle.

What Does It Feel Like?

The sensation a patient feels depends on the size of the needle, the depth of penetration, and the patient’s sensitivity. Feelings associated with the needle insertion are often referred to as warmth, numbness or itching, or a heaviness or distended feeling. All are signs that the acupuncture is stimulating the area.

How It Works

The theory behind traditional Chinese medicine is that the body maintains balance through two energies, yin and yang. This flow of energy is called qi. When these energies become blocked that is when illness occurs. Acupuncture works to stimulate points along meridians to balance the body’s energy back into balance.



“CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.” US Food and Drug Administration. US Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 15 June 2010.

“You’re a What? Acupuncturist – OOQ Online, Summer 2002.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2010.

“Asian Institute of Medical Studies, School of Acupuncture in Tucson – Acupuncture FAQs.” Asian Institute of Medical Studies, a School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Tucson. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2010.

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