Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin, sterile needles into specific points in the body. According to the conventional Chinese, this point corresponds to channels or pathways in the body called meridians through which vital energy or Qi flows. Acupuncture aims to balance the flow of Qi flow throughout the body and promote healing.
Acupuncture is based on the belief that illness and pain are caused by imbalances or blockages in the flow of Qi. By stimulating specific points on the body with needles acupuncture aims to restore balance to the flow of Qi, which can relieve pain and other symptoms.
Does acupuncture hurt? Continue reading.
Acupuncture has been used to treat many conditions, including pain, headaches, digestive problems, respiratory disorders, neurological disorders, emotional disorders, and infertility among others. It is generally considered safe when performed by a qualified practitioner who uses sterile needles and follows proper procedures for needle disposal.
1. Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into specific points of the body. While many people may be considered that this could be painful, the experience of acupuncture can vary greatly depending on the individual and the specific technique used.
In general, medical acupuncture is typically not described as painful but rather as a sensation of pressure or a mild ache. Some people may experience a brief moment of discomfort or a slight pinch when the needle is inserted but this usually subsides quickly.
Most people find acupuncture to be a relaxing and calming experience. Does acupuncture hurt? However, it is important to note that some people may be more sensitive to the tingling sensation of acupuncture than others and some techniques may be more uncomfortable than others.
1.1. How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is based on the principle of traditional Chinese medicine which views the body as a network of international pathways called meridians through which is the most important energy called qi (pronounced “chee”). The goal of acupuncture is to restore balance and harmony to the flow of qi in your body which is considered to be essential for good health. If you are considering acupuncture, it is important to discuss your options with your healthcare-certified acupuncturist provider to know if it is a safe and appropriate treatment for your specific needs or not.
Does acupuncture hurt? Acupuncture point involves the insinuation of very thin needles into some points on your body known as Acupoints. These acupoints are believed to correspond to different organs, tissues and systems in the body. By bracing these acupoints, acupuncture is thought to activate the body’s natural healing response and restore balance to the flow of qi. Acupuncture may also have more tangible effects on the body such as:
- Stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
- Increasing blood flow and circulation to the affected area.
- Modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation.
- Regulating the nervous system and reducing stress.
1.2. Different Types of Needles Used in Acupuncture Treatment
There are different types of needles used in acupuncture treatment, each with unique features and benefits. Here are some of the most common types of acupuncture needles:
- Standard Acupuncture Needles- These are the most commonly used type of needles. They are thin, sterile and typically made of stainless steel.
- Japanese Acupuncture Needles- These are similar to standard needles but are typically thinner and shorter. They are designed to be less invasive and may be preferred by those who are more sensitive to needle insertion.
- Ear Acupuncture Needles- These needles are small and designed specifically for use on the ear. They have often been used in auricular acupuncture a technique that involves stimulating specific points on the ear to trust various conditions.
- Intradermal Acupuncture Needles-These are very small needles that are placed just under the skin rather than being inserted deeply into the muscles.
- Three-Edged Needles- These needles have three edges and are used for a specific technique called “bloodletting” which involves making small, shallow incisions on the skin to release blood.
1.3. What to Expect During an Acupuncture Session
During an acupuncture session, you can expect the following:
- Consultation-The acupuncturist will typically begin by asking about your medical history, current symptoms and any other relevant information. This will help them make out the best course of treatment for you.
- Examination-The acupuncturist will then examine your tongue, pulse and other physical indicators to help identify the imbalance or areas of concern.
- Needle Insertion-The acupuncturist will insert a very thin needle into specific points on your body. You may feel a slight prick or tickling sensation as the needle is inserted but acupuncture is generally not described as painful. The needles will be left in place for some time typically 10 –20 minutes.
- Additional Techniques- Depending on the acupuncturist and your particular needs, additional techniques such as moxibustion (the burning of an herb called mug wort near the skin), cupping (the use of suction cups on the skin) or electroacupuncture (the use of a mild electrical current on the needles) may be used.
- Relaxation- During the acupuncturist session you will typically lie down and relax. Many people find the experience to be calming and may even fall asleep.
- Follow-Ups- After the session, the acupuncturist may provide recommendations for self-care, dietary changes or other lifestyle modifications to support your overall health and well-being.
Make sure to know the specifics of an acupuncture points session may vary depending on the acupuncturist and your individual needs. If you have any concerns or questions about what to expect during an acupuncture session it is a good idea to discuss them with your acupuncturist before the session begins.
1.4. What are Some Common Acupuncture Points
There are hundreds of practice acupuncture appropriate points on the body each with its unique function and indications. Here are some of the most commonly used acupunctures feel certain energy points:
- Large Intestine 4(L14)- located on the hand between the thumb and index finger. L14 is often used for headaches, neck pain and other types of pain.
- Stomach 36(ST36)- Located on the leg about four finger widths below the knee. ST36 is commonly used to boost the immune system, improve digestion and increase energy.
- Pericardium 6(PC6)- located on the wrist, two finger widths above the crease of the wrist PC6 is often used for anxiety, nausea and vomiting.
- Governing Vessel 20 (GV 20)- located at the top of the head GV20 is used for tension headaches, dizziness and mental disorder.
- Bladder 23 (BL23)- located on the lower back on either side of the spine, BL23 is often used for lower back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders.
- Liver 3 (LR3)- located on the foot between the first and second toes, LR3 is commonly used for stress, irritability and menstrual disorders, a bleeding disorder.
- Lung 7(LU7)- located on the arm about two fingers widths above the wrist crease, LU7 is often used for respiratory disorders such as asthma and cough.
- Kidney 3(KI3)- Located on the foot between the ankle and the Achilles tendon, KI3 is often used for fatigue, chronic low back pain and other kidney-related problems.
1.5. Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment
In addition to the specific conditions that acupuncture treatment is effective in treating such as pain relief and mental health issues, there are several other potential benefits that acupuncture may offer. Here are some of the other ways that acupuncture works may be beneficial:
- Improved Immune System Function- Acupuncture has been found to stimulate the immune system which can help the body to fight off infection and other illnesses.
- Increased Energy- Acupuncture can help increase energy flow and reduce feelings of fatigue which can improve the overall quality of life.
- Stress Reduction- Acupuncture is found to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation which can have a positive impact on mental and physical health and overall well-being.
- Improved Sleep-Acupuncture has been found to improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia which can have a positive impact on physical and mental health.
- Hormonal Balance- Acupuncture can help regulate hormones which can be beneficial for conditions such as menstrual cramps, infertility and menopause symptoms and bleeding disorders.
- Digestive Health- Acupuncture can help improve digestive function and reduce symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux.
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2. Final Words
The experience of acupuncture feel varies from person to person and while some may experience some discomfort or muscle pain during the insertion of the traditional medical needles most people report that the first acupuncture treatment is not a painful or uncomfortable experience. Many people find acupuncture more relaxing and enjoyable, often described as a gentle and soothing treatment.
Does acupuncture hurt? Ultimately whether or not acupuncture hurts will depend on the individual’s treat pain tolerance, the acupuncture techniques and the specific pain treatment being administered. However, for many patients, any mild discomfort experienced during acupuncture is usually mild and temporary and the potential benefits and overall wellness of the treatment often outweigh any temporary pain discomfort.
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