What does acupuncture and dry needling feel like?

“What does acupuncture and dry needling feel like?”

On a weekly basis I end up answering the same question, what does this acupuncture and dry needling feel like and is it painful? A common myth about acupuncture is that it hurts. Often to the amazement of those who try it, acupuncture usually does not hurt. No pain, though, does not mean no sensation.

In acupuncture, this sensation is called de qi and it means it’s working! However, during a dry needling session the aim of treatment is to release a muscle by inserting it into a trigger point (that painful knot in your muscle!). This causes a local twitch response, which most people just describe as a strange sensation. For more information on dry needling click here

When an acupuncture needle gets inserted, if you feel sharpness beyond the level of a mild mosquito bite, tell your acupuncturist. He or she may try needling the point again, or may simply remove the needle if the area has become sensitive.

A feeling of sharpness from an acupuncture needle occasionally happens; it’s nothing to worry about. However, acupuncture should be a comfortable experience.

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So what does acupuncture actually feel like. Below is five of the most common feelings:

1. Heavy

Sometimes this feeling of heaviness expands, spreading throughout the body part where the needle was placed.

2. Achy

Along with heaviness, an achy sensation can occur at the needling site. It usually dissipates after a few seconds, but occasionally a point will ache or even throb slightly throughout the treatment.

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3. Electric

The needling of certain acupuncture points can feel almost like an electric shock!

4. Tingly

Acupuncture points can cause tingling at the needling site as well as throughout the body. I have heard clients describe this like a flow of powerful water running down her leg.

5. Warm

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A deep warmth can sometimes be felt at the insertion point. This can create a more intense feeling of heat expanding throughout a meridian point.

So there you have it, give needling a go! It’s never that bad! Plus it’s likely to help whatever ailment you have. 

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