I am often asked if acupuncture hurts. This is a reasonable question as to the idea of inserting needles into the body in order to feel better sounds counterintuitive. I also get comments like, “I’m afraid of needles!”

Often these reactions arise from our previous experience with hypodermic needles involving injections and such. The needles used to administer an injection or to draw blood are hollow since there is a need to either draw fluid out of the body or push fluid in. Since we are doing neither of those things in acupuncture, our needles are not hollow allowing them to be hair thin. We can fit about 30 acupuncture needles into the tip of one regular hollow-bore needle.

With such a tiny instrument it is possible to avoid the pain and discomfort normally associated with the word “needle.” Now that is not to say that acupuncture is devoid of sensation or that an intense feeling doesn’t have its place, but there is a difference between a sensation that you can reasonably relax with and one that is counterproductive.

In the pursuit of patient comfort during treatment, I employ a wide range of different acupuncture needle brands, sizes, and styles. One of my favorite brands I affectionately refer to as my “snobby needles.” Why? Simply because they are manufactured to certain specifications that increase patient comfort and are more expensive. Most of my patients prefer them.

“Snobby needles” aside, the purpose of acupuncture is to be effective. As a practitioner, I custom tailor the treatment to meet your needs and needle tolerance. Needle tolerance is like pain tolerance in that everyone’s barometer is set a little differently. If you have never had acupuncture before, my first priority is to make you as comfortable as possible and to demystify the process. I love giving people their first acupuncture treatment and showing them that it doesn’t have to hurt to help!”