Does acupuncture hurt?
Toni Bennalley is a licensed acupuncturist at Banner Estrella Medical Center.
Question: My physician recommended I try acupuncture for my muscle spasms as an alternative to taking medication. Does acupuncture hurt?
Answer: Acupuncture has been practiced for more than 2,000 years, with few people ever documenting a case where the patient was “hurt” by the needles. The needles themselves are the size of a cat’s whiskers, much smaller than your typical hypodermic needle used for shots in the doctor’s office.
Practitioners utilize the needles to facilitate the body’s own energy, directing the energy from the points of the needle and therefore releasing the energy that is a causing a patients pain or spasms. In Oriental medicine, it is believed that the pain or problems of the body are caused by Chi, the body’s energy source. Placing the needles into the muscles at select points releases the Chi, creating an ease for the muscles and/or organ systems in pain.
Typically, patients I treat feel their own body’s energy more than actual the prick of a needle. Patients often say they feel warmth, a tingling or tugging sensation at the locations where the pins are inserted, if they feel anything at all. For muscle spasms, the needles would be placed into the muscles themselves and could be manipulated (turned) to help the Chi release. I leave the needles in for about 20-25 minutes to slowly relax the muscles and free the bindings of the Chi.