Do Acupuncture Pens Work?

Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow.

Recently, acupuncture pens have become a popular way to reap the benefits of acupuncture treatment from the comfort of your own home. However, many people wonder, do acupuncture pens work? 

Acupuncture pens are a great alternative for people who want to administer their own acupuncture treatment at home. To learn more about acupuncture pens, including how they work, what they can be used for, how effective they are, and where to purchase one, take a look at this guide. 

Background Of Acupuncture

Qi is an important part of Chinese Medicine. Your qi is the energy that is inside your body, and it is what makes you alive. You need qi to move and function, and if your qi isn’t flowing properly then it can limit your movement and cause pain.

Acupuncture helps to activate qi in your body to help you to heal and also enables you to understand your own energy better. Acupuncture will encourage the correct flow of qi in your body.

Not only is acupuncture great for pain relief, but it can also relieve stress and has been used to treat lots of different types of health conditions.

Acupuncture Pens 

Acupuncture pens are also known as PENS – per-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. They are a very useful implement that can be used alongside or instead of traditional Chinese acupuncture to help relieve aches and pains.

Generally, acupuncture is a treatment provided by a professional practitioner. However, with an acupuncture pen, you can treat yourself from the comfort of your own home. Acupuncture pens are also great because they provide a treatment method for people who have a phobia of needles. 

Sounds a bit too good to be true, right? You’re likely wondering, ‘but… do acupuncture pens work as well as traditional acupuncture treatments?’. Well, take a look at the information below. You’ll be convinced that acupuncture pens work wonderfully in no time.  

How Does Acupuncture Pen Work? 

Acupuncture pens provide electro-acupuncture rather than traditional acupuncture treatment. This is because electrical pulses are used instead of traditional needles. Electrical pulses are transmitted into the body by a small electrode on the end of the pen which has a similar effect as traditional acupuncture but without piercing the skin.

The vibration caused by the electrical pulse stimulates your body in the same way that a needle would and activates bio-chemicals in your body that can help to block your pain. The vibration also helps to reduce inflammation in your body and releases endorphins that ease pain and make you feel more positive. 

Check out this article for a more detailed explanation of how to use an acupuncture pen

Where To Use Acupuncture Pen? 

To use an acupuncture pen, you apply the pen to the key meridian points on your body, and the pen will stimulate them to relieve the pain (take a look at this video to learn more).

Many people use an acupuncture pen on the acupoints below. 

Acupoint: KI-1 (Other Names: Kidney-1/Yong Quan/Gushing Spring)

The soles of the feet are home to many useful and effective acupoints. One of them is the KI-1. The KI-1, also known as YongQuan or Bubbling Well, is located in the depression point that is created when the toes are curled forward. 

This acupoint is a very versatile one. It is generally used to revitalize the mind, body, and spirit. Specifically, it can calm the mind, improve metabolism, reduce swelling, and it can help the body and mind recover after fatigue. 

To learn more about this pressure point, check out this article on kidney meridian points.

Acupoint: GB-21 (Other Names: Gallbladder-21/Jian Jing/Shoulder Well)

Many people get acupuncture treatment to help relieve shoulder pain. This acupoint is ideal for such people. It is located on the trapezius muscle. This muscle is used to raise the shoulder and pull the scapula together. 

By using an acupuncture pen on this acupoint, you should feel great relief in the back and shoulder area. Any pain or numbness should subside, the range of motion should increase, and the blood circulation should be better. 

To learn more about this pressure point, take a look at this article about shoulder pressure points.

Do Acupuncture Pens Work

This all sounds great in theory, but do acupuncture pens work?

Acupuncture pens can be very effective, as long as you use them correctly. They have also been proven to effectively relieve tension headaches and the accompanying side effects like nausea and vomiting. They are also brilliant at easing chronic pain, muscle spasms, and even some forms of paralysis.

For instance, several studies have illustrated that laser acupuncture treatment is effective at relieving the symptoms associated with chronic neck pain, fibromyalgia, lower back pain, and chronic tension headache. Whilst more clinical studies are required to prove the true efficacy of acupuncture pens, these results are incredibly promising. 

Acupuncture Pens and Common Problems 

Acupuncture pens are used to alleviate the symptoms of many common problems. Take a look at the most common uses of acupuncture pens below. 

Acupuncture For Arthritis

Electro-acupuncture has been used to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. It is particularly effective on the knees. There are a number of very popular and versatile acupoints on the knee. 

For instance, the SP-9 acupoint is located on the knee. This point is understood to help alleviate knee pain, arthritis pain, and nausea and vomiting. Take a look here to learn more about how to use an acupuncture pen on your knee.

Acupuncture For Acute Pain

If you are suffering from acute pain then electro-acupuncture is a good way to provide relief. However, it depends on the level of pain you are experiencing. If your pain is severe, you may not experience the best results just by using an acupuncture pen. 

A lot of people use electro-acupuncture alongside pain relief medication in order to achieve the best results. This means that you don’t have to take as much medication, so the side effects of the medication will be reduced.

Acupuncture For Nausea

Electro-acupuncture has been found to be more effective than traditional acupuncture at relieving nausea. A lot of chemotherapy patients have found it to be a non-intrusive method to reduce nausea and vomiting after their treatment.

Acupuncture For Headaches

Acupuncture is known to be very effective at treating tension headaches and migraines. Ongoing acupuncture treatment can significantly reduce the frequency of migraines and reduce the symptoms of sinus problems. To learn more about how to use an acupuncture pen for sinus drainage, check out this article. 

Acupuncture For Skin Concerns 

Acupuncture pens are commonly used to treat skin concerns on the face and neck. In particular, they are often used to treat sagging and swelling of the skin. For instance, this acupuncture pen user found that with regular use, the skin on the face felt much firmer. 

To learn how to treat these issues with an acupuncture pen, take a look at this video or this article about how to use an acupuncture pen on face.

Are Acupuncture Pens Safe To Use?

This might all sound too good to be true – there must be a few drawbacks, right? Actually, there aren’t any negative side effects to acupuncture pens. This makes them an appealing option for people who are fed up with taking medication and experiencing the side effects. 

They are generally safe to use – just make sure you read all the instructions first. The only exceptions to this are if you have certain pre-existing health conditions. If you have a history of heart disease, strokes or epilepsy then electro-acupuncture is not recommended.

The electrical pulses could interfere with your pacemaker if you have one, so traditional acupuncture would be better. If you are pregnant, then you should seek advice from your doctor before trying any new treatments like acupuncture or electro-acupuncture.

Additionally, some people are not as suited to acupuncture treatment as others, and their bodies might take some time to adjust. If you feel dizzy or nauseous, you might need to reduce the intensity or frequency of your treatment.

Where Can I Buy An Acupuncture Pen? 

Now that you’re completely convinced of the great benefits of acupuncture pens, you’re likely wondering, ‘where can I buy one?’. Well, before we get into that, you first need to understand that there are different types of acupuncture pens. To ensure that you purchase the right one for your needs, take a look at the information below.

Different Types Of Acupuncture Pens

There are three different types of acupuncture pen on the market. Whilst they will all provide great treatment, they do have some differences. We have provided a brief summary of the different pen types to help you decide which one will suit you best.

The electric acupuncture pen is a hand-held pen. It targets the meridian points on your body with electrical pulses, which stimulates the acupressure points. There are usually two settings – dome-type for use on your face and sensitive areas, and node type for use on the rest of the body. It is considered to be very safe with no side effects.

A laser acupuncture pen is very similar to an electric acupuncture pen, but you need to identify the meridian points yourself. The laser sends an electrical pulse to stimulate healing. This type of acupuncture pen is considered to be the best one for facial pain and headaches.

Finally, you have the meridian energy acupuncture pen, which is very versatile. The electrical pulses are sent directly into the body, tissue, and organs. It is brilliant for joint pain, but muscle stimulation can also be used to lift the muscles of the face.

What is the Best Acupuncture Pen? 

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Below, we’ve listed some of the best acupuncture pens available today. Take a look to start your treatment ASAP! 

DangSang 5-in-1 Acupuncture Pen

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This 5-in-1 acupuncture pen is a wonderfully versatile option. It comes with 5 different head nodes, each boasting its own unique uses and benefits. For instance, the Spheroidal Head is ideal for instant pain relief, whereas the Scraping Head is perfect for increasing blood circulation. 

Scree 3-in-1 Electronic Acupuncture Pen 

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This acupuncture pen is perfect for those of you looking for an acupuncture pen for beauty reasons. Whilst this pen is great at alleviating pain, it is primarily used as a beauty aid. It works to make you look refreshed and young. It helps to significantly reduce signs of ageing such as sagging skin.

Leawell Acupuncture Electronic Acupuncture Pen

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This acupuncture pen is of excellent quality. It is the best acupuncture pen for pain relief. It can be used professionally or personally. It is portable, wireless, and has 10 power settings. Additionally, the user manual is particularly helpful, including detailed instructions and diagrams to ensure that you get the best results possible. 

How To Choose An Acupuncture Pen?

If you are considering buying an acupuncture pen, you might find the range of choices quite overwhelming. There are certain things that you should consider making it easier for you to narrow down your choice.

Multiple Heads 

First, you should try to choose a pen that is versatile. Unless you have a very specific health issue that you are trying to tackle, you will be better served by an acupuncture pen that can help with lots of different ailments.

This will ensure that you get your money’s worth and feel the full benefit of the acupuncture treatment. Some pens have multiple head attachments, which you can switch out depending on what you are using the acupuncture pen for.

Intensity Levels 

If the pen has a variety of intensity levels, this will also make it more versatile and will allow you to personalize your treatment experience to suit your needs. You will also be able to use it for a larger range of purposes. 


Another thing to look out for is the warranty, as this will give you a good indication of the quality of the product. If a manufacturer is confident in the longevity of their product, then they will offer a good warranty. It also gives you peace of mind as you know you can get a repair or a replacement if something goes wrong.

Auto Shut-Off

A useful feature to look out for on acupuncture pens is ‘auto shut-off’. This means that the pen will turn itself off after a timed session of acupuncture therapy. Not only does this save energy, but it also keeps you safe by making sure the pen does not overheat.

FDA Approved 

Unfortunately, not all acupuncture pens that are available online are FDA approved. Make sure you buy one that has been approved by the FDA to ensure that it has undergone rigorous health and safety testing.

Gel for Acupuncture Pens 

You have likely noticed that many acupuncture pens require some kind of gel or cream. To learn why, and where to purchase a good-quality gel, take a look at the information below. 

What is Contact Gel for Acupuncture Pen? 

Conductive gels are often used to ensure that the acupuncture pen works as well as it possibly can. Conductive gels ensure that skin resistance to the treatment is reduced. They also work to ensure that the skin is soothed throughout the treatment. If you’re considering using an acupuncture pen, we recommend also purchasing a good quality contact gel. 

What Kind of Gel Should I Use for the Acupuncture Pen? 

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As mentioned above, for the best results, it is necessary to use a conductive gel whilst using an acupuncture pen. We’ve listed the three best conductive gels below, check them out. 

Spectra PAR 12-02 Parker Laboratories 360 Electrode Gel

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This gel for acupuncture pens is very high-quality. It has a hypoallergenic and stay-wet formula that ensures the acupuncture treatment works as well as possible. 

Pain Doctor Conductive Gel 

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This is another high-quality gel for acupuncture pens. It has an excellent formula that should keep the necessary area appropriately prepared for treatment for a considerably long time. 

Does Acupuncture Replace Other Treatments?

Acupuncture can be a very useful treatment, but you should not use it to replace seeking medical attention if you have an ongoing health issue. A lot of the time, it works best alongside other forms of treatment like pain relief medication or physiotherapy to speed up your recovery time and make you feel more comfortable. 

If you have been prescribed medication by a healthcare professional, then you should continue to take it, even if the acupuncture is making you feel a lot better. If you have any concerns or questions, speak to your Doctor.

Author: P. Sze

P. Sze P. Sze is the founder of TCM Tips and Dragon Acupuncture®. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a first-class honor in Civil Engineering. S he also holds a master’s degree in Engineering and is the brain behind the innovative TCM products of Dragon Acupuncture®. She is the author of The Beginner's Guide to Auricular Therapy: Application of Ear Seeds (ISBN 978-1520451398) and Facial Gua Sha - Fight the Signs of Aging Naturally and Inexpensively (ISBN 978-1980678922). She has dedicated her life to ensuring that the complex theories behind oriental medicine and the seemingly dangerous techniques that involve needles and fire do not scare you from trying oriental medicine. This is why she writes endlessly about acupressure and its countless health and wellness benefits.

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