There are 5 common sensations from acupuncture needles that I educate my patients about in my Ridgewood, New Jersey acupuncture clinic and I wanted to share then with you too. Most people have a fear of needles. The fear of needling is often a barrier that prevents people from giving acupuncture a try. Did you know that the top three fears that people commonly have are public speaking, a fear of heights, and a fear of insects and bugs. But even so, if fear of needles doesn’t make the top ten, it is still a very real fear that people have and still needs to be addressed.
Acupuncture needling is very different than injections or blood draws and it’s ability to hurt very little is due to the fact that the needles are not hollow, so nothing can be injected through it. It takes acupuncture from a painful place to a viable option for those scared of needles. Beyond feeling a little pinch, there are 5 common acupuncture sensations that you can feel when receiving acupuncture. The following is taken with permission from Sara Calabro from her website Acutakes. In it you will learn the 5 common acupuncture sensations.
Having an acupuncture point needled can feel like a weight is being placed on the area. Sometimes this feeling of heaviness expands, spreading throughout the body part where the needle was placed. This heaviness is calming rather than oppressive.
Along with heaviness, an achy sensation can occur at the needling site. It usually dissipates after a few seconds, but occasionally a point will ache or even throb slightly throughout the treatment. This is normal but it can be intense, especially on points that are located on the hands and feet. If it feels too strong, tell your acupuncturist so that he or she can adjust the stimulation.
The needling of certain acupuncture points can feel almost like you’re being shocked or zapped. It’s usually a surprising, traveling jolt that quickly disappears. One of the most common acupuncture points for causing this sensation is Pericardium 6, since the median nerve runs directly beneath it. See picture on the right and notice that the point is located between two tendons on the wrist.
A patient once told me that she feels like a Christmas tree when she gets acupuncture. Acupuncture points can cause tingling at the needling site as well as throughout the body. Sometimes this happens immediately upon needle insertion and other times, which is where the Christmas-tree analogy comes from, it happens while you’re resting with needles. Points intermittently tingle like twinkling lights.
A spreading sensation of warmth sometimes engulfs the area around an acupuncture point. This typically occurs a minute or two after the needle is inserted. It is a pleasant feeling, like internal heating pads are being applied to various body parts.
If acupuncture causes you to feel something other than these five sensations — or nothing at all– that’s okay, too. These are just the sensations that occur most often.
Dispelling fear and misinformation is critical to understanding the holistic side of the medicine that has been around for 2000 years. I hope that this short post, helps you to understand that it is not all that bad.
If you are looking for more help or support, let out gentle methods help you! Please call me at 201-444-7150 or at email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are never too busy to help you!