Is It Painful?

Acupuncture needles inserted female face acupuncture points

Is Acupuncture Painful?

Most people are surprised to learn that acupuncture needles are extremely thin. They are not like hypodermic (injection) needles, which are big and hollow. What sets acupuncturists apart are the needles they use.
At the Pacific Wellness Institute in Toronto, they use only special ultra-thin needles called moshin-hair needles (0.12mm in diameter) which are thinner than regular acupuncture needles (0.22-0.30mm in diameter) and even thinner than human hair!

The acupuncturists at the Toronto clinic have mastered the technique of inserting these tiny, delicate needles into the body with minimal discomfort to the patient. In fact, many of their patients do not even feel the needles being inserted and some even fall asleep during the treatment.

Related Frequently Asked Questions

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How many acupuncture needles can fit inside the opening at the tip of an 18-gauge hypodermic needle (the type commonly used for blood tests)?

Answer: Forty acupuncture needles can easily fit inside the opening of the hypodermic needle.

Acupuncture-needles with medical hypodermic needle Acupuncture-needles with medical hypodermic needle - Close up

At the Pacific Wellness Institute, the acupuncturists have found that even patients who have had previous experience with acupuncture before going to their acupuncture clinic are often pleasantly surprised at how virtually painless and more comfortable the acupuncture treatments were at PWI. There are 4 main reasons why their acupuncture treatments are so painless:

  1. Needles: The Pacific Wellness Institute uses the thinnest needles available on the market (0.12 mm in diameter) -they are thinner than human hair. They are also more than 2 times thinner than the needles typically used in most North American acupuncture clinics.
  2. Guiding Tube: The PWI acupuncturists use specially designed guiding tubes to insert the needle. Guiding tubes, which were invented in the 17th century by a talented and blind Japanese acupuncturist named Waichi Sugiyama, significantly decrease the pain and stinging sensation when the needle is inserted.
  3. Their Technique: Technique plays the biggest role in achieving painless needling. The PWI acupuncturists have spent years in training refining their painless acupuncture techniques. Inserting and manipulating thin, fine and extremely soft needles without bending them requires highly sensitive skills.
  4. Needling Depth: The PWI acupuncturists use and specialize in a superficial acupuncture needling technique. The acupuncture needles are usually inserted less than a few millimetres in depth.

Acupuncture-needles with medical hypodermic needle - Seirin Japanese needle

Some acupuncturists believe that in order to produce a significant effect one must insert needles deeper and administer a much stronger stimulation; however, this is not necessarily true. Many Japanese practitioners clinically observe significant improvement in their patient’s condition using an extremely gentle superficial needling technique. A mid-90’s scientific study (Tanaka, H.T. et al., International Journal of Neuroscience in 1996) indicated that very gentle superficial needling stimulation produces an immensely favorable response in the human physiological system. The study demonstrated that a very small amount of superficial stimulation produces significant responses in the body when applied skillfully with consideration of the patient’s physiological condition. The goal, therefore, is to deliver the most effective treatment for a patient’s condition while providing the most comfortable treatment experience.