When undergoing acupuncture, most patients report a deep sense of relaxation and well being. Often the patient may feel a sensation of vague numbness, heaviness, tingling, or dull ache where the needle is inserted. Some patients may experience the sensation of energy spreading from the needle and travelling along the channels. All these sensations indicate that the body's energy or Qi has been activated and that treatment is in progress
There is a misconception that acupuncture needles are inserted into the nerves and that it would hurt as much or similar to a sewing needle or pin prick on a finger tip. In fact, acupuncturists do their best to avoid puncturing nerves and blood vessels. Acupuncture needles are much thinner than the blood drawing needles. Several acupuncture needles can fit into the opening of a blood drawing needle.
During a typical acupuncture treatment, the needles are left in for about 15 - 45 minutes. During this time the body temperature may lower, organ systems, heart beat and respiration may slow down, muscle tension dissipates, and the mind calms. In most cases, the patient will sink into a very relaxed state.
Research has shown that Acupuncture causes the body to release neuro-transmitters such as endorphins and serotonin. Endorphins are the body’s natural opiates which relieve pain and increase the patient's relaxation response.
Endorphins and serotonin also stimulate the adrenal gland which secretes cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s stress-fighting and anti-inflammatory hormone. It helps to regulate immune functions, blood pressure, and glucose metabolism. Thus, the patient can see, over the course of treatments, physical, emotional, and mental well being.
For those who are unable to receive acupuncture either due to medical or emotional reasons, needle-less options are available for treatments.