Most patients report that they occasionally feel the prick of the needle (described like the bite of a mosquito) followed by dull ache, heavy sensation, warmth, or slight tingling in the area needled. The needles are inserted subcutaneously or into a muscle or tendon juncture, usually about 1/8-1/2″ deep (the depth depends on the area being needled
Sometimes the needles will be manipulated and the patient experiences a mild “Qi” sensation (pressure, tension then a release), which helps engage the patient’s body to rebalance itself. If the patient feels any discomfort while being needled, they should tell their practitioner about it so that the needle position can be adjusted. The needle may have inadvertently hit a hair follicle (which has a lot of nerve endings) or be near a vessel or nerve and be irritating it. With a minor adjustment, most patients will then relax into their treatment. After insertion, most patients relax and sometimes fall asleep during the treatment. Patients joke that they visit us for their mid-afternoon nap. Being relaxed during the treatment is very important, as it allows the treatment to be more effective. When working with children, acupuncturists may choose acupressure rather than acupuncture, which involves using finger pressure on the same points where a needle would normally be used.