The use of strategically inserted needles in order to stimulate the body's natural healing process is nothing new, although it can seem like a fairly strange process to undergo if you're someone who's uninitiated to these types of treatments. Children have a tendency to grow up with a natural aversion to needles, and that tends to filter into the way we think as adults.
The fear of getting pricked subsides, but we still try to avoid needles without getting stuck with one is absolutely necessary. This is why it might seem strange to someone who has never had an acupuncture treatment done that a person would willingly lie on a table and have up to a dozen of more steel needles hanging out of them for several minutes at a time. After all, in a session that's supposedly to be relaxing and naturally healthy, how can that be comfortable?
The answer reveals itself when you begin to take a look at the acupuncture problems themselves, and in how they differ from the things that usually come to mind when someone mentions the word “needle.” For starters, they're very tiny. By far smaller than the types of needles used to give you a flu vaccination every year. In fact, they're barely any bigger than a human hair.
The reason why makers of acupuncture needles are able to get away with this is that these needles do not need to be hollow, since they are never used to deliver any type of actual medication by way of injection. Instead, all that's required of these needles is that they just barely pierce the skin, since the ancients who first developed the practice of acupuncture that believed that the most important energy channels of the body remained very close to the skin. Since the pressure points that acupuncture aims to stimulate are rather sensitive, the needles only ever need to be thick enough to stay reliably straight up into the skin. To increase comfort, they are also never sharpened to the point where contact with the skin causes any sort of “cutting” feeling.
In this way, acupuncture needles have more in common with very stiff hairs than with the types of needles that people normally think of when they imagine any type of ordinary medical procedure.
On average, acupuncture needles will never need to sink deeper than a half an inch or so into your skin. This, combined with how small they are, results in an experience that is by no means painful. In fact, many clients of acupuncture treatment report that the relaxation that takes place after the sudden rush of emotional energy that's been blocked up all this time distracts from any feeling associated with the needles actually making entry into the body. What's even better is that they're small enough not to leave any marks whatsoever once the session has concluded.
Even if you had several acupuncture needles in you at any point in time during the treatment, you will not feel any real discomfort. Only the euphoric sensation of your body's natural spiritual strength, the vanishing of old body aches, and the ability to get a much more wholesome and restful night's sleep for a long time to come.