The Sensation of Your First Acupuncture Needles

by Renee Pilgrim, R.Ac. |

The Sensation of Your First Acupuncture Needles

Visiting an Acupuncturist for the first time might be an intimidating experience, but ask anybody who sees an Acupuncturist regularly, and they will tell you that it's anything but.  We asked Newfoundland-based Acupuncturist Renee Pilgrim of Transformaven Acupuncture to walk us through the first time experience of needle insertion. 

When I meet a patient for the first time, we always begin by reviewing their health history and goals for treatment: Fertility, digestive disorders, back pain, anxiety, etc.  The reasons are always varied and many.  We always talk through their experience with Acupuncture and any preconceived ideas.  Most of my first time patients have never seen an Acupuncturist before. Some are scared of needles. All are curious. 

We take our time.  When the first point is placed (needle is inserted), we pause.  Then the second point is inserted and usually, by the third point, they say something.

I wait for whatever it is they say - it's the start of something that has great potential. I listen.  I don’t know what they will say. There are many similarities about what each person will feel: What they feel when receiving Acupuncture is pretty amazing.

acupuncture needles

I Listen for the Qi

Some people feel very little after the initial point. People feel differently depending on where the needles are placed. But needle placement is not what they typically comment on.

"It's like I just felt the sun shine all over me"

Common first comments are "it’s like I feel warm all over”, or “I can feel this current moving through me”.   Other typical observations are “I don’t know what it is, but it’s like something is moving” or “wow, I just felt my whole body relax.”  Once I heard “it’s like I just felt the sun shine all over me”.

We can use biology and neuroscience to explain the sensations and feelings. Inserting a needle does increase blood flow, causing a mini injury sending information via the neurotransmitters to the brain creating a response system. This is your Qi.

acupuncture healing

The Feelings of the First Moment of Healing

This is what I find interesting, finding words to how we experience acupuncture is mostly about how we experience the subtle nature of our bodies. There are things we cannot see. There are things that are hard to explain. There are experiences that can only be known through the body. This somatic moment activates a deep knowing within us.

This experience, this knowing is the beginning of healing. Listen in, find the words, trust your experience and knowing. This awareness and articulation of self is an invaluable tool for the rest of your life in wellness.

Renee Pilgrim, R.Ac. started her Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture career in Toronto, Ontario. She built a thriving practice, produced & facilitated workshops, and instructed at Eight Branches Academy of Eastern Medicine. In January of 2021, she opened a clinic in her hometown of St. Anthony, Newfoundland. Taking the time to live closer to the land and sea, marveling at the North Atlantic sky, offering compassionate care to her community, and nourishing her roots. Most recently she formed a local community garden group and appears in a regular health care spot Thursday mornings on Learn more about Renee at

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