It sounds so ironic, but there are few things I find more rejuvenating then lying down with needles placed all over my body.
Acupuncture is deeply rooted
This 2500 year old practice views each body as a microcosm of the outerworld. The meridians, or channels of energy that run throughout our body, are connected to specific organs. These organs are responsible for different functions and are correlated to the 5 elements found in nature. This correlation to the five elements is where the potency of acupuncture resides. These elements are symbolic of emotions and characteristics, and are interwoven with one another to compose the harmony or imbalance within our bodies(1). This systems-thinking approach is poetry!
I found acupuncture in 2011 when I went off birth control.
Well, really, acupuncture found me. I won a free session from a farmer’s market raffle, and figured I had nothing to lose. Though I have to admit, I wondered to myself, "does acupuncture hurt" ? But my body was in chaos from 7 long years of birth control pill use and the doctors I had been going to were not helping - so I decided it was well worth it to find out. I hadn’t had my period in close to a year and my body was in all sorts of discomforts, including really bad acne and headaches.
After ONE acupuncture treatment, my period came back. During this first needling session, I felt a surge of electricity re-awakening my uterus. The next day, my period started. After a handful of treatments, my skin started to improve and my headaches diminished. I was mind blown. And I was also humbled by this 5 element practice.
So does acupuncture hurt?
The needles are so thin, and expertly placed, so that there is no pain. If it hurts, let the acupuncturist know and they will remove the needle. I'd describe the feeling more as an electric zing, or a quick pinch. You can feel the needle just as it enters, but the sensation dissipates in seconds.
To this day, I consider my acupuncturist my primary doctor.
From emotional complaints like anxiety and depression, to help with first trimester morning sickness, to sleep deprivation from being a new mom, acupuncture has always been able to reinstate harmony within my body. Sometimes I feel things surge and reawaken like I did that very first time, and sometimes I don’t feel anything at all until a month passes and I realize, “Wow, I haven’t had morning sickness since my last treatment.” The subtlety of these shifts can feel just as magical as a loud surge of “electricity.”
Benefits of Acupuncture
While the personal results have been enough to keep me returning to these needles, knowing that modern scientific studies have confirmed positive results is affirming. From anxiety, to menopausal complaints, to lower back pain, and overall improved mental health there are confirmed positive results(2). The incredible support I received for pregnancy and easeful labor has also been confirmed in studies that show “benefits for specific pregnancy symptoms and the birth process(3).”
All I know, is that I can trust a 2500 year old practice that views each human body with the same reverence, forgiveness and faith in which it can view the Earth. The Earth has seasons that inevitably come and go, and each season has its beauty and its challenges. Being able to accept this within my own body, and offer my body the support it needs, is a true gift from acupuncture.
- Robyn, content creator at Anato & holistic wellness expert.
How you can get started
⟡ Look into acupuncturists in your area. Bonus if they take your health insurance! Know that we've answered your question - does acupuncture hurt - hopefully you are inspired to take action for your holistic wellness journey
⟡ Stay on top of your immune health - it is at the root of your overall health, including your mood. We made a practical holistic immunity guide that you can get here, for free.
⟡ Treat your body to perennial plant based skincare, like Anato's Arborescent Nighttime Serum. Using toxic free skincare lessens our bodies work load, and allows us to live in greater harmony.
Get more holistic wellness tips
- Omura, Y. (1989). Connections found between each meridian (heart, stomach, triple burner, etc.) & organ representation area of corresponding internal organs in each side of the cerebral cortex; release of common neurotransmitters and hormones unique to each meridian and corresponding acupuncture point & internal organ after acupuncture, electrical stimulation, mechanical stimulation (including Shiatsu), soft laser stimulation or Qi Gong. Acupuncture & electro-therapeutics research, 14(2), 155-186.
- Pilkington, K., Kirkwood, G., Rampes, H., Cummings, M., & Richardson, J. (2007). Acupuncture for anxiety and anxiety disorders–a systematic literature review. Acupuncture in Medicine, 25(1-2), 1-10.
- Soliday, E., & Hapke, P. (2013). Patient-reported benefits of acupuncture in pregnancy. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 19(3), 109-113.