It’s natural for some people to be more sensitive to the sensation of an acupuncture needle. Sensitivity is something acupuncture practitioners will need to contend with on a patient-by-patient basis.
A highly skilled and experienced acupuncture practitioner will assess the style of needling most appropriate for the client, adapting their style to the patient as opposed to offering a sort of singular acupuncture experience.
Admittedly, it’s a challenge trying to find the right acupuncture needles to use based on body type. Each needle has different features and are appropriate for different situations. In acupuncture schools, unfortunately, we oftentimes only teach students how to use one or two types of needles. Rarely is it ever discussed how different needles can benefit different patients. Considering the patient’s body type is not something ever explored.
As acupuncture moves further into the twenty-first century, practitioners are having to modify approach according to body type and condition. Choosing the appropriate needle is a part of that and at the end of the day, you’re always going to want needles that are thin, easy to use, high quality, and that have been tested under stringent quality control standards. Compromising on acupuncture needle quality isn’t really something you can do. For patients coming for acupuncture, this could be their first experience. No practitioner wants to leave their client in pain.
Your acupuncture needles should always be stainless steel so that they are flexible, won’t rust, and won’t break. Ideally, you want a supplier who can assure you your needles are sterile. Acupuncture needles mainly come in three sizes of length – 0.5 inches, 1 inch, and 1.5 inches. 0.5 inches are generally used for the ears and other hard-to-reach areas while 1-inch acupuncture needles are great for the face, hands, and feet, and lastly, the 1.5-inch needles usually are applied to larger muscle groups like the legs.
All needles are also measured in gauges. The higher your gauge, the smaller the diameter. For example, hypodermic needles are usually between 25 and 27 gauges. Comparatively, acupuncture needles are between 30 and 40 gauge. A lot of acupuncturists will tend to use needles between 32 and 34 to treat pain. The larger the needle, the easier it is to break up stagnation and affect muscle spasms. For other conditions though, regardless of body type, the thinnest needles you can use are probably the best way to go. Thin needles can still influence energy but without any sort of the effects that can come with big needles.
Acupuncture needles shouldn’t hurt when they are going in so if you are finding patients complaining about pain relating to insertion, you may have low quality needles, your technique may not be strong, or it may the needle may not be thin enough to the person’s liking.