Does Acupuncture Hurt?

People experience acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted- some people feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there is no pain felt. Acupuncture needles are very thin and solid and are made from stainless steel. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting edges like a hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not as painful as injections or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation is less than when using a hollow needle.

We use hair-thin needles to deliver gentle yet effective treatments. The needles are sterile and are disposed after use.We often enhance the results of acupuncture by applying short pulses of electricity to the needles. The pulses are in micro-scale and their frequencies are precisely controlled. The application of micro-current stimulation increases level of analgesia and significantly extends the period of treatment effectiveness.There has been extensive research on the effectiveness and mechanism of eletro-acupuncture. Two notable pioneers in the field are Dr. Bruce Pomeranz and Professor Ji-Sheng Han. Tieyan Shang was honored to have Professor Han as her mentor in graduate school.

Afraid of needles? Unlike the sharp tip of the needle on a typical syringe, the tip of an acupuncture needle is round. It is not designed to pierce the tissues. Instead, once inserted, it pushes the tissues aside. Thus acupuncture does not feel like the same as that during vaccination or blood test. If any pain during the insertion of the needle, it is barely noticeable and very short-lived, somewhat like a mosquito bite.

During the treatment, some people feel energized while others feel relaxed (some even fall asleep).