What does acupuncture actually feel like? 针灸的感觉如何?

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Acupuncture 针灸

If you are anticipating a visit to the TCM physician or acupuncturist, but have never tried acupuncture before, you are probably asking this question “does it hurt?”.

As the process of acupuncture occurs in stages, you may experience different sensations at each stage, such as soreness or numbness.

To help prepare you for your first acupuncture session, here is a breakdown of what you may feel during the different stages of the treatment process, from the time the needle enters, to the time you leave the clinic.

1. When the needle enters the skin (进针):

As the needle is very thin and it enters quickly, there is usually either no pain or minimal pain.

2. Manipulating the needle to “stimulate the Qi” (行针):

After inserting the needle, the practitioner will usually twirl the needle back and forth to stimulate the Qi. At this stage, the sensation may be described as soreness, fullness, warmth, a feeling of electric shock, or the numbing sensation of pressing onto your nerve etc. Feeling of pain is possible but is less common at this stage.

3. Leaving the needle in the body to enhance the effect (留针):

This is usually pain-free.

4. Removing the needle (出针):

This is usually pain-free.

5. After the treatment:

The area where acupuncture has been performed may feel just slightly sore for 1-2 days for some, or may feel perfectly fine for others.

Since different acupoints may produce different sensations, and every individual has a different tolerance level, your experiences may vary.

To prevent unnecessary discomfort for you, it is good to communicate with your physician or acupuncturist about how you feel throughout the session as that can guide them in handling the needle.