How To Use Acupuncture Pen

Chinese acupuncture pens have become incredibly popular in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why! I couldn’t go a week without my acupuncture pen – it is the perfect way to reap all of the benefits of acupuncture from the comfort of my own home. However, to reap such benefits, it is first necessary to understand exactly how to use an acupuncture pen.

From personal experience, I know that it can take a little bit of time to get used to using an acupuncture pen. This can be especially frustrating if you’re looking for immediate pain relief. To ensure that you are using your acupuncture pen effectively, check out the ultimate guide below. You’ll be an expert in no time!

What Is An Acupuncture Pen?

An acupuncture pen is a portable device that uses lasers or electrical stimulation to imitate traditional acupuncture treatment. A laser acupuncture pen will allow you to treat yourself from the comfort of your own home, rather than traveling and paying for a practitioner and receiving treatment with acupuncture needles.

Some acupuncture pens come with a variety of accessories that allow them to be used for different purposes. Some pens include dome-shaped extensions that are better suited for use on skin, whereas others are meant to be used for scraping the skin to increase blood flow.

Benefits Of Using An Acupuncture Pen 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

There is a huge range of benefits of using an acupuncture pen. Check them out below!

  • Easing menstrual cramps (take a look at this study for more information)
  • Treating sinusitis
  • Treating insomnia
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Relaxing the mind and emotions
  • Promoting healthy weight loss
  • Enhancing fertility
  • Increasing immunity
  • Treating headaches
  • Relieving muscular pain
  • Relieving joint pain
  • Relieving chronic pain
  • Improving sleep
  • Minimizing tinnitus (take a look at this article titled Acupuncture Pen For Tinnitus Immediate Relief for more information).
  • Alleviating symptoms of mental disorders (PTSD, anxiety, depression).

We know that this list can make acupuncture pens sound a bit too good to be true. However, clinical studies, such as this 2010 study, have shown that acupuncture can provide excellent pain relief. Although, if you need a bit more convincing, check out this article, titled Do Acupuncture Pens Work? Spoiler… they do!

How to Use an Acupuncture Pen 

However, before you are able to reap the many benefits listed above, you first need to learn how to use an acupuncture pen properly. Check out the acupuncture pen guide for beginners below to ensure that you are using an acupuncture pen correctly.

Determine Target Areas

Before you get started, it is necessary to decide exactly what you want from your acupuncture pen treatment. Whether you want it to aid in the reduction of anxiety symptoms or you are struggling with muscle pain, you will first need to look up the acupoints that correlate to your problem.

Below, I’ve listed some examples of useful acupuncture points. Check them out if you need some inspiration.

Acupoint: SP-10 (Other Names: Spleen-10/Xue Hai/Sea of Blood)

Xuehai, or SP-10, is located just above the kneecap. It sits along the spleen meridian and is understood to impact blood sugar levels. It is thought to be a useful acupuncture point for people looking to lose a healthy amount of weight or those who are struggling with anemia. To learn more, take a look at this article about pressure points in the thigh.

Acupoint: GV-20 (Other Names: The Governing Vessel-20/Bai Hui/Hundred Convergence)

Bui Hui, or GV-20, is an acupuncture point located directly on the top of the head. It is a versatile point with many uses. It is used mostly for its calming nature. Specifically, it is thought to lower blood pressure and alleviate any kind of stress. This clinical study shows promising results for the use of GV-20 for reducing blood pressure.

To learn more about this acupuncture point, take a look at this article about acupressure points for anger.

Acupoint: Bl-10 (Other Names: Urinary Bladder-10/Tian Zhu/Celestial Pillar)

Bl-10 Urinary Bladder-10 Tian Zhu Celestial Pillar

Tianzhu, or BI-10, is an acupuncture point located on the nape of the neck. It is on the urinary bladder meridian and is understood to be an effective treatment for neck and head pain. It also works to clear the mind and make you feel more balanced. To learn more, take a look at this article about the heavenly pillar acupressure point.


Before using your acupuncture pen, you need to first ensure that the pen is clean. This is especially important if multiple people use it. Whilst you don’t need to worry about needles, it is still important that the process is as hygienic as possible. It is also a good idea to wash your hands and the area that you will be working on.

Apply Cream or Gel 

Most acupuncture pens require that you first apply a conductive cream or gel to the area. This is to ensure that the acupuncture pen is as effective as possible. It also works to soothe the skin throughout the treatment.

If you’re not sure what gel or cream to use or how to best use them, take a look at this video. It details what kind of cream is necessary depending on the way in which you plan to use the pen.

Use the Acupuncture Pen

Now, you are ready to use your acupuncture pen on the desired area. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as different acupuncture pens need to be operated in different ways.

However, generally speaking, you should hold the acupuncture pen perpendicularly to the acupuncture point when using it. You should also begin with a lower frequency to ensure that you don’t experience any unwanted side effects (these are rare but worth mentioning).

As you use your acupuncture pen, make sure that you take deep breaths. It is important that you are in a calm and safe environment to ensure that you are using the pen correctly and gaining as many benefits from the device as possible.

Tips and Tricks 

If you’re learning how to use an acupuncture pen for pain relief, check out some of our tips and tricks below.

Avoid Holding the Device Over Large Areas of Skin

Hold the device just above the area of pain. This will ensure that the electric pulse is targeted to exactly where you want it to go.

Be Gentle When Moving the Device Around

Make sure you don’t move the device around too fast. Again, slow and steady wins the race! This will also ensure that you are targeting the appropriate points.

Don’t Hold For Too Long

If you are new to using an electronic acupuncture pen, make sure that you don’t use too high a frequency or hold it above a certain point for too long. Although rare, this could cause unnecessary side effects. Instead, begin on a low frequency, and build up over time.

Use The Same Points

Acupuncture can take time to work, and it may be that you need many treatments before you experience the desired benefits. As such, it is important to remember to repeat the treatment using the same acupuncture points. Certain points are better suited for certain conditions.

Is Acupuncture Pen Dangerous? 

Now that you know how to use an electric acupuncture pen, you might be wondering, are they dangerous to use? Generally speaking, acupuncture pens are very safe to use. However, it is important to remember that it is an electric medical tool. As such, it is necessary to treat the pen with care and ensure you are using it correctly.

As with any electrical device, you need to ensure that your acupuncture pen remains dry and is stored appropriately. Additionally, you should always proceed with treatment with caution if you are a beginner and educate yourself on acupuncture pen treatment. Take a look at the information below to ensure that you are using the device safely.

How Often You Can Use Acupuncture Pen 

As a guide, you should use your acupuncture pen on the same acupuncture point around three to five times per day. This will be enough to experience the benefit without putting yourself at risk of experiencing side effects. However, if you do notice that the treatment makes you feel dizzy, you can use your pen less frequently.

You should also avoid acupressure immediately after a meal, alcohol, or strenuous exercise.

Where Not to Use Acupuncture Pen 

It is important that you do not massage too much in areas that have large blood vessels or nerves, such as the neck. That isn’t to say that you cannot use your acupuncture pen in these areas, it is just necessary that you proceed with care and caution.

Additionally, if you are experiencing swelling in a certain area, it is a good idea to avoid direct contact between that area and the acupuncture pen. If you are feeling abnormally tired or your skin is feeling particularly sensitive, make sure that you don’t press down too hard or use too high a frequency.

Side Effects 

There are very few side effects of using an acupuncture pen. However, there are a few rare side effects to keep an eye out for if you are a beginner. For instance, if you begin to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous, this is likely a sign that you should stop using the acupuncture pen, or at least reduce the frequency significantly.

It is important to remember that different people respond differently to acupuncture, whether traditional or electric. As such, remain vigilant for adverse reactions and go to your doctor if necessary. In fact, to ensure maximum safety, before using a pen, visit your doctor to make sure that your pain or discomfort isn’t a sign of anything more serious.

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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