Does acupuncture hurt?

Does acupuncture hurt? It's the most common question among would-be patients.

The fact is, acupuncture treatment rarely hurts, if ever. When the sterile, disposable, hair-thin needle first touches the skin, there's hardly any sensation at all. Once the needle does meet the acupuncture point, you may feel one or more of the five sensations, called "de qi," which indicate that the targeted acupuncture point is being treated:


Imagine the internal sensation of the first sip of a warm cup of tea.


A lesser, more localized form of the sensation of your foot falling asleep.

Dull aching

A temporary dull ache or pulse can occur at the acupuncture point.


The calming sensation of a gentle weight pressing on the treatment area.


A very slight, traveling jolt can sometimes occur. One of the rarer sensations.

To ensure a pleasant treatment experience, it helps to have a qualified, veteran practitioner at the helm. Patients all across Memphis and the Mid-South have trusted Barry Song to keep them safe and living in wellness for 30 years.


We asked our patients for you:

Does acupuncture hurt?

Don't just take our word for it.

We asked a few of our patients what acupuncture treatment felt like. Here's what they had to say:

It’s a relaxing thing. The sensation itself is funny - not painful at all, and once I felt it I realized how much I had hyped it up.
— C.S.
I hate needles, who doesn’t? But this is different. You won’t feel much, but if you do, you know it’s working. I absolutely wouldn’t have come back if it hurt.
— L.J.
Most Swedish and foot massages I’ve had hurt more than acupuncture. And what it’s done for my back is way more effective.
— C.H.

Many of our patients come routinely for relaxation and therapeutic purposes. How relaxing could acupuncture be if there was any substantial pain involved?

So does acupuncture hurt?

Injury and illness cause hurt. Acupuncture does what it has for thousands of years - help free people from pain and live in wellness.

I thank Barry Song for all he has done for me and my family.
— L.G.