As soon as someone finds out I'm an acupuncturist, the line "I’m Scared of Needles! Does Acupuncture Hurt?" seems to escape their lips. I swear, if it wouldn't be rude to walk around with a recorder to give my almost mastered response, I would. But hearing this constant question keeps reminding me of how unfamiliar acupuncture is to Winnipegers. Therefore when answering this question, I smile at the opportunity to educate. So here are my two cents to the question:
Hurt – NO. Feels weird – YES.
Most people are scared to try acupuncture due to their fears or dislike of needles. I mean, who really enjoys getting needled? But the neat thing about acupuncture is that it does not hurt. Different sensations like warmth, an ache or pressure may be felt, aka ‘Qi’, but it isn’t painful – just unfamiliar. The needles that I use are extremely thin – you can take 10 acupuncture needles and put it inside a hypodermic one. There is nothing to inject, the purpose is just to stimulate different areas in the body. To give you a clearer idea - they are just slightly bigger than a whisker of a dog or cat. The cosmetic needles are just slightly thicker than a hair. You’d think the Chinese people would have come up with a different form of medicine after 5,000 of practice if it really was that scary or painful. In fact, most of my patients love the sensation of ‘Qi’ and beg for me to use more needles as the results far outweigh any discomfort. Some of my patients, particularly the ones being treated for insomnia, stress or anxiety actually fall asleep while I’m needling them! If that isn’t a positive testimonial about the sensation of acupuncture, I don’t know what is. So what are you waiting for? Throw out that silly childhood fear of needles and give acupuncture a shot. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how wonderful you’ll feel.