Any acupuncture needle can produce a sensation when inserted. Any time a needle is inserted, there are several factors at play as to what the body’s response will be. One possible response is the qi sensation.
To achieve a qi sensation, an acupuncture needle needs to be high quality. Low-end needles create discomfort in the body are the tips are oftentimes inconsistent, dull, blunt, or even sometimes broken. High-end acupuncture needles have optimized geometry at their end, generating no negative sensation upon insertion.
Regardless of needle quality, the possibility of causing intense pain is always present. In less than 5 percent of needle insertions, there is pain which is the direct result of piercing a blood vessel or touching a nerve ending. The result is hard to tolerate, similar to a biting or burning sensation. Acupuncture should not be a painful experience.
So what is the qi sensation in acupuncture – well, it’s a sensation characterized by a pulling or grabbing. There’s a false qi sensation to watch out for, first. This can come from many things, including thicker gauge needles or acupuncture needles which haven’t been properly lubricated. Poor quality needles can potentially grab the tissue as they are pressed into the skin, felt by the patient instantly. Please note if a patient notifies you of any discomfort like this, it’s best to stop the stimulation immediately and remove the needle.
With proper force after an acupuncture needle has been inserted to the body, you will often feel sensations such as numbing, tingling and heaviness. The needle might be twirled toward to different positions, it can be both up and down with different speed, depth as well as heat, such heat will carry on with small electric current which we also refer that as de Qi in TCM.
At lierre, we offer different types of acupuncture needles: Acu Relaxo non-coated is recommended when the practitioners pursue to de Qi sensation in treatments.
This is precisely why working with high quality needles that have been properly lubricated is preferred. Using thin, quality acupuncture needles, a practitioner can insert and penetrate tissue without any discomfort. The stimulation that follows is only to reinforce and/or disperse. The qi sensation’s deep pulling, heaviness, and/or tingling taps into the body’s natural energy pathways.
When acupuncture needles in Canada are used right, the qi sensation is achieved. In accordance with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture is used to stimulate ‘acupoints’ activating the body’s energy pathways, meridians, collaterals, and helping to regulate the function of certain organs. Thereby, the qi sensation can be referred to as a sort of arrival of energy in vital parts of the body through the use of needle stimulation.
Qi sensation in acupuncture is neither pain nor discomfort. This is key to remember. It can take a patient and practitioner some time to adequately recognize when the qi sensation is achieved. Conceptually, the qi sensation is one of the most commonly misunderstood responses to acupuncture. The characterization of the sensation and the acupuncture effect is also referred to as ‘suan’ which is an aching or soreness, ‘ma’ as a numbness and tingling, ‘zhang’ meaning fullness or pressure, and ‘zhong’ which references heaviness.