What Should Acupuncture Feel Like?

Patients receiving acupuncture treatment at the salonAs an acupuncturist one of the questions I get asked most often is “What should I be feeling during acupuncture?” 

The answer is to stay away from the word “Should”.  Acupuncture is a subjective experience.  One person might say the needles don’t hurt, another might describe them as terribly painful.  This is all within the realm of normal when it comes to acupuncture treatment.  Some patients describe the needles as achy, sore, throbbing, tingling, or that they don’t feel them at all.   

Patients question their experience asking, “If you put the needle in my foot, why do I feel it in my ribs?”  In this case, I explain that needles in the foot can affect other areas of the body, because of the acupuncture concept of meridians.  Meridians are like highways in the body.  So, for example, if you are passing exit 3 on the highway, and hit traffic, it is possible the exits before and after are affected, the same holds true with acupuncture theory. 

Many patients are perplexed by the notion that they can’t concretely describe what they are feeling.  Just that they feel “weird” or “spacey”.  It is common to feel this away, especially after your very first acupuncture treatment.  The good thing is, you are feeling something.    

As acupuncturists we want you to notice what’s happening in your body and be an observer.  Of course, if something feels too painful let your acupuncturist know, and we can adjust your treatment.    

Posted in: Acupuncture

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