One of the questions we are often asked by new clients or those persons who are inquiring about acupuncture is "does it hurt ? "
In general my answer to that question is going to be no, but, having said that we don't always know to what degree a person experiences pain and or what that person conceives as being pain.
As a therapist it is necessary that the client feels as comfortable as possible with whatever type of treatment you are giving them regardless of whether it is acupuncture or some other form of treatment as this generally enhances the persons experience and improves outcome in general.
You often hear the saying "no pain no gain", In my opinion this is a matter of degree and should always be taken on a case by case basis.
In general if a person is receiving acupuncture from a qualified practitioner there should be very little or no pain with insertion of the needle. This will also depend on the points being selected as some points are a
lot more sensitive than others, those points on or near the tips of the
fingers may be more sensitive than those in more fleshy areas.
The client may feel a slight tapping sensation if the therapist is using a guide tube to insert or there maybe at most a slight pricking sensation, this may happen more easily if the therapist is inserting the needle without the use of a guide tube.
If the person experiences sharp pain and especially if the pain remains present after the needle is inserted more deeply this is not always a good sign, having said this this is where it becomes somewhat difficult to explain.. After the needle has been inserted there is a sensation that is known as de qi in traditional terms or needle sensation, In my opinion this sensation is often mistaken by clients as pain and for some people can be a little off putting.
The person experiencing the needle sensation may experience it in one or more of many ways, it may be, a distending dull ache, slight warmth, slight cold, slight numbness or electric sensation. The sensation maybe localized or migrate up or down the meridian pathway. Those persons that are very sensitive may experience this sensation up to quite a distance from the actual point of insertion but in my experience this doesn't happen very often.
Not all people feel this sensation and to some it may feel it a little off putting, but by understanding what is happening it may help to make what maybe unpleasant to some bearable.
This needle sensation is an important part of the acupuncture experience as it is an indication to the therapist that the qi energy has been activated and by doing so improve the general outcome.
For more info on acupuncture come and visit me here