What Should I Be Feeling During Acupuncture?

“What does it feel like?” That’s one of the most common questions we hear from people new to acupuncture. We  respond by assuring people that most folks relax pretty quickly, and many people even fall asleep. But that’s not the only thing that happens. A wide range of experiences during acupuncture are considered normal. We’ve had patients tell us about feeling warm, feeling cool, feeling tingling rushes throughout their bodies, feeling heavy, feeling so light it’s as if their bodies are floating above the recliner. Sometimes people have intense rushes of emotion come up during treatment; everything from euphoria to grief. We’ve even had a handful of people describe mild hallucinations–pretty colours moving across the ceiling.

And once in awhile, someone comes in for a stress or anxiety treatment and they’re quite disappointed when their mind races and chatters the whole time.

In those situations, a new patient often has the sense that they’ve failed somehow, that they’re a “bad” patient, or that the acupuncture isn’t working for them. What we’ve noticed, however, is that even when someone doesn’t relax during acupuncture, or, only relaxes a little, they usually still get benefit from treatment. Of course it might be a more enjoyable experience if you get to snooze along with everyone else (it can be hard to feel like everyone else is “getting it” while you’re not) but it’s highly likely that the acupuncture is still working, even if your mind won’t shut up or you’re not having the experience you were anticipating. Finally, we do notice that when we reassure someone that they’re not doing anything wrong, and there’s no “right” way to have a community acupuncture treatment, they’re much more likely to relax.

If you’ve got questions about what to expect when coming in for community acupuncture, please get in touch.

Community acupuncture practitioner sitting on a stool in the GCA group treatment room, in front of a bearded patient relaxing in a recliner, while several other patients sleep in recliners covered in red blankets in a loose circle in the room.
People sleeping in our treatment room.

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