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What Do Acupuncture Needles Feel Like?

Updated on November 29, 2007
Dog being treated by acupuncture and relaxing!
Dog being treated by acupuncture and relaxing!

Acupuncture, acupressure and Traditional Chinese Medicne (TCM) have been around for thousands of years. The results of people and animals who under go acupuncture treatments are routinely impressive. More and more health insurance companies will cover all or part of acupuncture treatments. The World Health Organization (WHO) endorses acupuncture for over 140 ailments. Acupuncturists need to study for years before they get licensed. You don't need to be Chinese in order to be good at acupuncture, but you do need to be a trained medical professional.

Still, even with thousands of years of results behind it, it still involves needles being pushed into your skin. How bad do acupuncture needles feel like?

Acupuncture Needles

Accupuncture needles are extrememly thin -- even thinner than innoculation needles. The worst you will ever feel is a pain identical to a bee sting. But most of the time, you won't feel them.

During a 1978 trip to China, Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld witnessed an open heart surgery done WITHOUT anesthetic -- but the patient wasn't in any pain because she had needles in acupuncture points in her ear that deaden pain. He chronicles this in eye-opening detail in his book Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide To Alternative Medicine. He goes on to note that a very small percent of the human population can successfully undergo using acupuncture in the place of anethesia. Even in China, acupuncture in the palce of anesthesia is used less than 20% of the time.

Dogs Don't Lie

It can be argued that Dr. Rosenfeld might have been fooled by sleight of hand, or some other trickery happened. Adults are very good at masking pain (although not THAT good).

But small children and animals are very vocal when it comes to pain. However, both small children and animals usually do not feel pain during an acupuncture session. Both horses and dogs (and occassionally cats) have been known to take naps during acupuncture sessions.

So, you don't need to worry about pain from acupuncture needles. You don't even need to worry about any diseases being transmitted, as needles are disposeable and sterile.

If you are interested in acupuncture for you or your pet AND conventional medicine has failed, you can ask for a referral to an acupuncturist. You can also look at the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society to find a vet, and for a human acupuncturist.

In dogs, acupuncture can be especially beneficial for arthritis. In horses, acupuncture has been tested to help with chronic back pain. In people, acupuncture is good for..well, just about anything except heart attack, labor and cancer.

All that being said, this writer still has a phobia about needles! Perhaps I'd need to be blindfolded if I ever needed an acupuncture treatment.

Dogs don't lie about pain. Still, Spencer is braver than myself! Film by Hophead515


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  • livelonger profile image

    Jason Menayan 9 years ago from San Francisco

    I've had acupuncture done before and agree that they are a lot finer than regular needles. They feel a bit like mosquito bites, which are so light that you usually can't feel them.

  • RenaSherwood profile image

    RenaSherwood 9 years ago

    Thanks for the info. Much appreciated :-)

  • euchrefreak55 profile image

    euchrefreak55 9 years ago from Sault Ste. Marie

    your dog is very cute! looks like my old lab. RIP blackie.

  • Die'Dre' profile image

    Die'Dre' 8 years ago from The Great Pacific Northwest

    I have RA. I'm wondering if Acupuncture can relieve some of the pain in my hands, hips and knees.

  • monitor profile image

    monitor 8 years ago from The world.

    This is a great hub on acupuncture, RenaSherwood. It's very useful to know that it can also be beneficial for animals such as dogs and horses. And it's also very reassuring to know that animals and people can sleep through acupuncture. Thanks for sharing this information.

    Your fan.


  • Denny Lyon profile image

    Denny Lyon 8 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

    Great hub for the pain sensitive. Blogging this on over to my healing blog as a lot of people would enjoy reading this. So often what is written about acupuncture is from a technical point of view; people want to know it from the patient's point of view! Your hub should post in about a week, thank you!

  • profile image

    Anonymous 8 years ago

    I don't know much about dogs, but is it's tail regularly like that or is it scared?

  • profile image

    Snoop 8 years ago

    Just because the dog doesn't feel any pain from the acupuncture... it doesn't make the lady invisible to him; He's obviously wary of this lady (who he may or may not know) hovering all over his body ~ perhaps that's the reason for any fear that you may have sensed... A couple of times the dog flinched a little ~ as he would if bitten by a mosquito or flicked with a finger... it's obviously not in any great pain ! (sorry if I missed anything, but I have no sound on my computer!!!)

  • Sterling Sage profile image

    Sterling Sage 7 years ago from California

    "The worst you will ever feel is a pain identical to a bee sting."

    Yikes! Are you sure that's what you meant to say? Bee stings are MUCH more painful than a typical inoculation!

  • Pamela N Red profile image

    Pamela N Red 7 years ago from Oklahoma

    I have had acupressure but haven't had the nerve to try acupunture yet. I will stop being a chicken and try it now.

  • profile image

    carrie 6 years ago

    I can supply acupuncture needles and other related products,we are factory locate in china,MOQ is 5000pcs.can reach me at if you need.

  • profile image

    Anonymous 6 years ago

    Acupunctures freak me out... the fact that lots of needles are being stuck in your body... Needles just scare me!

  • profile image

    chiropractic marketing 6 years ago

    Very Great and interesting hub.

    At first, acupuncture was accepted mainly for pain relief. But as more patients were treated with acupuncture, it has gained general acceptance as an alternative medicine.

    The intent of acupuncture therapy is to promote health and alleviate pain and suffering.

    Even doctors recommend acupuncture as a form of physical theraphy.

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