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Don F Gates
Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
   

Grand Acupuncture Center
3931 Grand Ave, 2nd Floor
Oakland  CA 94610
510-428-9430

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The Qi Sensation
When acupuncture needles are first inserted into the body, most people feel very little, if any, sensation. It is not until a needle is inserted to its proper depth and an appropriate degree of stimulation is applied that what we call the "Qi sensation" is achieved. "Stimulation" can be a matter of simply twirling the needle in place, giving it a mild or moderate lift and thrust, applying heat, or even hooking the needles up to a mild electric current (electroacupuncture), but the end result is the same: the Qi sensation.

The arrival of Qi at an acupoint has been described in many ways—a dull ache, "electric" tingling, heaviness, numbness, distention—and it often feels different depending where on the body the needle is placed, the nature of the disorder being treated, and the overall health of the patient. It may radiate up or down a limb or the trunk, or may be localized at the site of insertion. Sometimes the patient even feels the sensation in another location entirely from the one being needled. The Qi knows where it's needed!

Qi may come on quickly, sometimes surprisingly so, or it may take a moment's stimulation to draw it to the point. Sometimes the acupuncturist feels the arrival of Qi before the patient does, through contact with the needle, while at other times the patient feels it first and alerts the acupuncturist verbally. Either way, the goal is to bring the Qi to the needle, so that the effects of the acupoint (each one has its own unique effects) can be realized and the benefits retained. Without the arrival of Qi, the effectiveness of the treatment is significantly lessened, so a good acupuncturist strives to achieve the Qi sensation with every point used.