Everyone knows Acupuncture uses needles, and everyone knows what needles feel like. But this leads to the common misconception that they will automatically know what Acupuncture will feel like, which is entirely false. Acupuncture needles are an entirely different breed of needles, called filiform needles. Filiform needles are long, thin, flexible, and do not have the typical hollow center for injecting fluid, like the typical hypodermic needles used in hospitals. This means that Acupuncture needles feel COMPLETELY different from the needles everyone is used to. But what exactly do they feel like then?
Of course the sensation of needle insertion feels different depending on the location of the body. In more fleshy, muscular areas, the prick upon insertion may not be felt at all. In more thin and sensitive areas such as the hands, feet, and face, you may feel a slight prick. It is commonly described as a mosquito bite pinch, and only lasts a second.
Other Acupuncturists find it as more of an optional feeling, since some patients do not report feeling this "de qi" sensation. So what does "de qi" feel like? It is commonly referred to as a heavy, deep, pulling, sharp, or slightly burning feeling. While all of this sounds pretty painful it is actually quite a painless phenomenon. When I ask my patients who feel their "de qi" if what they felt was painful, the most common response is, "No, not painful, but it felt....weird!" Many are quite amazed when I tell them that this what their qi feels like, the energetic force that is propelling life in their bodies!
To see for yourself, book an appointment with me or my colleagues at the student clinic at the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia!