No. The needles do not hurt. There is sometimes a sensation after the needle (which is about as thin as a hair) goes in - and that is your Qi moving, or changing or something like that. The sensation sometimes feels like an electric shock, warming, really good or sometimes it hurts (but only for a second).
I can hear you saying "Hello Heather~~~~~ I took health class in high school and I don't remember anything called a Qi." Well smarty pants, that is because its not recognized in American medicine - but Qi (pronounced chi) is the foundation of Chinese medicine and can be compared to Prana in Yoga. It is your life force, your energy, the stuff that we can not pull a vile of blood and see how your Qi is doing....but believe me, you and your body know when your Qi/Prana is out of sorts.
This energy runs along meridians in your body and it gets stuck, festers, gets stagnant, over produces or is just plain out of whack. This is where the tiny little needles come in - stick the needle in at the EXACT right place and the Qi moves or calms down or whatever its supposed to do.
Beyond that - you need to talk to an expert about Qi because I understand the concept, but I can not explain it further without royally messing something up.
I do know that one of the best spots to heal your kidneys is in your chin/calf area. I also know that one time when Shams (my acupuncturist - I sound very possessive here, but I will share!) put a needle in the back of my knee I felt a lightening bolt of energy shoot all the way through my big toe. Every time I get acupuncture, I leave feeling as though I got a massage - or better. I normally feel very, very relaxed and kind of tingly in a good way. Amazing stuff.
So for more professional info - click here for Shams's website.
Shams told me that that I have stagnate liver qi. She recommended some herbs for this and acupuncture once a week till I get the liver qi moving again. So, me being me, I had to look up what she actually means by stagnated liver qi. This makes no sense to my American medicine brain. The symptoms included something that knocked me out of my chair: a constant lump in the throat. I HAVE HAD A LUMP IN MY THROAT FOR OVER A YEAR. It drives me nuts. Nothing I can do about it. I have tried tea, burping, not talking unless necessary, somebody recommended crystals and I have meditated and practiced pranayama trying to make it go away. The pranayama (breath work) did the trick for a day or so, but it always comes back. So annoying. I am thrilled that these herbs and the acupuncture will hopefully get it to go away. Whooo hooo!
till next time...
Love and Light -