Sensations During Acupuncture Session: What to Expect

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine practice that involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body. It is often used to treat various conditions, from pain and stress to digestive issues and infertility. But what can you expect during an acupuncture session? In this article, we’ll explore the sensations you may experience and what they mean.

The Sensations You May Feel

During an acupuncture session, you may experience a range of sensations. These can vary from person to person and even from session to session. For example, some people feel relaxed and calm, while others feel energized or emotional.

Acupuncturist Megan Saab notes that the sensations you experience during acupuncture reflect where you are. For example, if you’ve been stagnant or depressed, you may feel like floating. On the other hand, if you were ungrounded, furious, or anxious before the session, you may feel heavy, as if a weighted blanket was on you. You may also feel buzzing or tingling all over, indicating the chi movement within.

Sensations During Needle Insertion

When the acupuncture needles are inserted, you may feel a dull ache or a throbbing sensation around the acupuncture point. This is a sign of new chi movement in the area, which usually dissipates within a few minutes. It’s similar to the sensation you may feel when sitting up straight after hunching over for a long time.

Occasionally, you may feel a sharp stabbing sensation. This is usually associated with “blood stagnation,” which is a deeper level than chi stagnation. It may occur due to injuries or when treating chronic physical pain. It’s a sharp sensation that should disappear as soon as it arrives.

Sensations After Needle Removal

After the needles are removed, many people report feeling a bit dreamy. It doesn’t feel like much to have the needles quickly pulled out at the end, but once you’re done, you’ll begin feeling the actual effects of the treatment. However, you may also experience discomfort or soreness after removing the needles. This is normal and typically dissipates within 24 hours.

What If You Feel Pain?

If you experience pain during an acupuncture session, speaking up is important. Feeling nothing is more of a red flag, according to Saab. Pang suggests that you’re connected and not dissociating. Your body is speaking to you, and that’s great! All sensations are feedback that helps acupuncturists better diagnose and treat the disharmony at hand.