Frequently I hear the question, “does acupuncture hurt”? I used to answer by replying “no”, despite the fact that sometimes the needles do hurt. I didn’t want to short sell the benefits of acupuncture by focusing on the little pinch that could potentially discourage a new patient from finding relief. Now I have learned the importance of advocating that the mild “pain” of acupuncture is a necessary sensation that provides a potent healing benefit and especially when experienced consciously.
In the Chinese medical texts these sensations are referred to as de qi sensations. De qi sensations are noted to provide an important active mechanism. I have found this to be true but I have also discovered that de qi can serve as a focal point, which when incorporated, boosts the affect of treatment. Acupuncture works as a passive treatment but patients can actively participate by cueing their breath and by focusing on the de qi sensations. Intentionally focusing your attention on these sensations creates self awareness, increases our capacity to be present and helps to develop a seamless state of calm and mindfulness. The point of contact, needle to skin, connects us more fully to the moment and therefor more fully to ourselves. Fostering this relationship with self, cultivates the most powerful resource for healing. Which makes embracing the little acu pinch, pretty powerful medicine.
Most often when a needle is inserted it is pain-free and the recipient feels a warm, soothing sensation that moves across and out from the point of the needle. Equally as fun, is feeling the sensations pop-up in distal and seemingly unrelated places of the body. Following the initial insertion of the needles, a deeply relaxed state that dances between blissfulness and sleepiness is achieved. At times people feel like they are floating, almost weightless yet grounded. Pain, stress and worry melt away as your bodymind hones its resource of self-healing and restores a state of balance. Acupuncture is a great vehicle to reach that destination. It is a little pain with a big holistic gain.