If I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me... I mean, no one has ever come in to our office saying that they wanted to try acupuncture because they LOVE needles (aside from a couple of piercings addicts). Needles have been given a bad rap - injections, blood draws, vaccinations, piercings... none of those are exactly comfortable. But acupuncture needles are incredibly different. First, they are not hollow like injection tools. Those syringes are made for cutting through the skin, through a vein, and for withdrawing or administering fluids at a moderate rate of flow, necessitating a beveled edge and greater girth... Acupuncture needles are skinny. Like width-of-a-human-hair skinny! Their tips are ROUNDED, not for cutting, but for gently moving aside tissue. Most people feel either nothing at all, or a very slight pinch as an acupuncture needle moves through the 1st layers of skin - which contain the most nerve endings. After the initial insertion, the practitioner either leaves the needle alone, or further adjusts until the patient feels a dull, achy, heavy, (and often pleasant) sensation of the "qi". This sensation has been studied lately using functional MRI's in the lab, and has been found to elicit reactions from the brain such as triggering the secretion of healing chemistry in the body (including endorphins and other analgesic compounds). And then the RELAXTION sets in... Most people find acupuncture very relaxing, even sedating, and at least half fall asleep during the course of the treatment. Hence, we have coined the phrase, "acu-nap."
In addition, acupuncture treatments include a massage component, herbal medicine prescriptions, cupping, and various other needle-free modalities. We treat infants, toddlers, children and teens too. So our technique needs to be gentle and painless where required. Just let the practitioner know that you are feeling apprehensive. We make it a point (pardon the pun) to afford our patients at least some degree of relaxation and positive sensations to go along with their healing and pain relief!