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Pain with Needles


I have always been excited to try acupuncture, and am typically not queasy or nervous when it comes to needles in general. I have had two treatments of acupuncture to help me with my recent stress and anxiety.

I believe the treatments worked to reduce my symptoms thus far. However, I have also been in significant pain due to the needles during both sessions. I would like to know whether I should continue with this painful treatment, given that it seems to be working. I would like to know if I I can undergo this treatment without so much pain.

The pain is a sharp, stabbing pain that occurs when needles are in my head, my wrists, my ankles, my knees, and my hands. It is different from the typical tingling, numbing, or prickly sensations usually described by people. The pain occurs when the needle is placed, when it is manipulated once inside, and upon removal of the needles. The pain turns into a dull ache and lasts pretty much most of the day in these areas. There is bruising at the some of the sites, as well. My acupuncturist assures me that this is normal.

Is this really normal for two sessions of acupuncture? I am happy that my symptoms have improved, but cannot imagine undergoing this painful treatment for much longer.

Thank you.

Pain during and after treatment

There are a range of needling techniques and theories in Chinese Medicine. These range from non-needle insertion (as in some forms of Japanese acupuncture) to very heavy needling techniques (more common from some practitioners of Chinese acupuncture). When we needle patients rarely feel the needles at all and there is certainly no bruising at the points except in very rare cases. If they feel anything from the needling it goes away after a second and they rest comfortably during the treatment.

While I don't want to judge another practitioner (as there are many styles), bruising at many of the points sounds excessive to me. Anxiety is very commonly treated with acupuncture and generally people with this condition do better with lighter needling techniques. If you are finding yourself tense during the treatment, this does not facilitate the flow of energy so you may not be getting all you can from the treatment. However, results are results so you will have to make a judgment call yourself on the issue. You could certainly try another practitioner with lighter techniques and see how you do. You are always free to go back to the practitioner you are seeing.

In my clinic, as I said, people rarely feel the needles and most fall asleep during the treatment. I find this best, but that is my background and experience. Some feel you need heavy manipulation and sensation at all points to create a change. This is just a difference in theory and training and not necessarily a right or wrong issue.


People' feeling is different, somebody can bear more pain, but somebody is a little sensetive than others. I suggest you use thin needles, and shallow stab the points, each treatment no more than 5 needles and short time treatment.

Thank you


Feng Mei

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