Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

The practice of acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny acupuncture needles into the body to stimulate qi or energy flow. Sometimes people wonder if the treatment hurts and may avoid the helpful therapy because of this concern. Nonetheless, when performed by an experienced professional acupuncturist such as Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, acupuncture should not hurt. Many people find the experience very relaxing; some even fall asleep during the therapy.

Points on the hands and feet may be more sensitive because these areas contain more sensory nerves than others. Additionally, people may experience more sensation from acupuncture in tightness and muscle contraction areas. Before treatment, Dr. Lisa performs palpation and massage to begin the relaxation process; be sure to let her know of any undue discomfort you may experience during treatment. A call button is also available at your side during your time at the table.

Acupuncture Needles

Modern acupuncture needles range in size from very small 7 mm or ¼ inch to 150 mm or 6 inches, and skinny 44 gauge or .12mm diameter to large 26 gauge or .40 mm. Additionally, acupuncturists may use press tacks that are extra small. Tiny and thin needles are appropriate for use in delicate areas such as the face, ear, hands, and feet or for very sensitive people. Acupuncturists may use large needles for regions such as the buttocks. We commonly use acupuncture needles at our office ranging in size from half to one inch and 32 to 36 gauge. Because of the small size, many people refer to the acupuncture needle as the ‘painless needle’.

Most acupuncture needles today are made of stainless steel, occasionally silver or gold. The needles are divided into five parts: tip, body, root, handle, and tail. The tip and body enter the patient, and the practitioner uses the handle and tail to mobilize the needle. The root connects the body and handle of the needle. Acupuncture needle tips are (surprisingly) blunt, which, for their tiny size, has less chance of cutting the tissue it enters than a sharper needle. In our office and others, the acupuncturist uses a small disposable guide tube to introduce the acupuncture needle. This guide tube helps to reduce pain sensation as it distends the skin around the insertion point before entry.

Acupuncturists use the ‘Clean Needle Technique’ technique to ensure patient and practitioner safety. After treatment, needles are disposed of in needle disposal boxes.

Modern acupuncture is safe, gentle, and effective for various health conditions, from pain to stress relief. Call today at (919) 929-1400, email us at or schedule online at Located in Chapel Hill, Dr. Lisa Oskardmay has offered acupuncture and chiropractic services since 1995.

Serving the communities of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Hillsborough, and the rest of the NC Triangle

205 Providence Rd. Chapel Hill NC 27514 | Phone: (919) 929-1400

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