Acupuncture needles are very fine, single use, sterile and stainless steel. They are much smaller in diameter than hypodermic needles, which need to inject substances into a vein. Acupuncture needles usually come in a small guide tube and are tapped gently but quickly into the skin. They are so fine and insertion is so quick, minimal sensation is felt during needling. No contact with veins or arteries is needed, and therefore in most cases little bleeding is expected when the needles are removed.
The sensation is an interesting dull numbness that the Chinese call “de qi”. This can be a mild to strong sensation depending on the needle technique of your practitioner. Our practitioners tend to needle very gently and any de qi sensation is usually mild. It can best be described as a heaviness, tingling or tightness in the area. There may be a slight pricking when the needle passes through the skin; most people do not even feel this. If there is any sharpness after this, let your practitioner know so that the point can be adjusted to be more comfortable.