What is De Qi Sensation?

This is a very close up image of Dr. Khanita placing acupuncture needles on a client's back.

What is actually happening with De Qi sensation?

As acupuncturists, we are aware that some people are really scared of needles. However, the different sensations from the acupuncture needles are what help the body heal naturally!

When we first learned how to do acupuncture, our teachers informed us to get that “de qi” sensation where we may feel the body “grip” the needle. Now, what the heck does “de qi” sensation mean? The patient may also feel a dull, achy, fullness sensation, distension, traveling or even a mild muscle fasciculation. This should be comfortable for the patient and should not be a sharp or stabbing pain sensation.

This wonderful book called “Neuropuncture” explains the neuroscience behind the efficacy of acupuncture points. Dr. Michael Corradino here talks about how based on the type of sensation, there are specific sensory nerves that are being stimulated in the body. There are C-fibers, A-delta, III muscle fibers, etc..and all these cool fancy nerve fiber names. The A-delta fibers and the II-III muscle fibers go to specific receptors that release neurotransmitters from the brain. These neurotransmitters are what create what Dr. Corradino calls a “local, chemical, natural healing soup” for the body! So that “de qi” sensation that you feel from the acupuncture points are what stimulate the central nervous system to create a wonderful systemic healing process for the whole body! That is why acupuncture can be so effective for various complaints and not just for pain (although it is extremely effective for pain relief).

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