Acupuncture Needles: Will Therapy Hurt?

Patients looking for relief from a diverse range of painful conditions, immune system problems, diseases, and mental health conditions have reported pain and symptom relief from acupuncture. But if you’re not a fan of needles the thought of acupuncture needles poking your skin may make you hesitant to try this alternative medicine. However, acupuncture is widely considered safe, and acupuncture needles are even regulated by the FDA. Here’s what you need to know about this practice that has been in use for roughly 3000 years

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Acupuncture: How it Works

Acupuncture is an Eastern medicine practice that involves inserting extremely thin needles into the skin in precise locations. Acupuncture needles do not have a hole in them like traditional needles, so the diameter is much smaller. Some needles are barely larger than a strand of hair. Acupuncture needles have a blunt end, rather than a pointed end.  

Acupuncture is used to rebalance the energy flowing through the body (qi or chi). The practice is rooted in the belief that when the energy flow is disrupted, the results are illnesses, pain, nausea, etc. To that end, your acupuncture therapist may aim to rebalance the body by releasing natural painkilling chemicals, such as endorphins. They may also determine that releasing neurotransmitters, which control nerve impulses,  is necessary to balance the body’s energy and provide relief.

Your acupuncture therapist will place the needles in specific places along the 14 major meridians of your body. The meridians are the channels that carry the energy through your body. Because there are more than a dozen meridians there are hundreds of acupoints in your body.  

The needles often remain in the skin for up to 20 minutes. Your acupuncturist may manipulate, twirl, or adjust needles during your treatment. The needles may also be warmed, or gentle electrical pulses may be sent through the needles.

What Does it Feel Like When the Acupuncture Needles are Placed?

Because the stainless steel, sterile, and thin acupuncture needles are so small, you may not feel anything when some of the needles are inserted. Or you may feel a tiny prick. The needles are inserted ¼ inch to a couple of inches deep in the skin.

Once the needle is inserted you may feel a variety of muscle sensations. Patients often report tingling, mild aching, heaviness, or numbness. 

Once treatment has been completed, the needles are removed, which most patients find painless. Most patients report feeling either energized or incredibly relaxed after the treatment.

What Conditions is Acupuncture Used to Treat?

Acupuncture is considered very safe for most people, with extremely low risks of side effects. Those with bleeding disorders or those who take blood thinners should speak with their physician before scheduling acupuncture. Those who are pregnant also need to talk with their doctor about acupuncture before booking a treatment. 

Although acupuncture is used to treat dozens of conditions, some of the most common conditions that people use acupuncture to treat include:

  • Anxiety
  • Back and neck pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Circulatory problems (hypertension, anemia, etc.)
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Illness from chemotherapy
  • Immune system problems (inflammation)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Joint pain
  • Menopause symptoms (hot flashes)
  • Menstrual pain and cramps
  • Migraine
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Sports injuries
  • Stress 
  • Tension headaches

Book an Acupuncture Appointment in Eugene

About Touch Massage & Acupuncture provides a comprehensive medical interview, physical examination, diagnosis, and treatment during your first appointment. Our trained, licensed, and experienced acupuncture therapists will ensure that you are comfortable throughout your treatment. Although the treatment itself is typically 30 minutes, your appointment may last an hour or longer.  Book your appointment online or call 541-484-3055 today.

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