I can claim to have had 3 different sorts of graft extraction, multi-bladed knife at the nobel clinic, which has the 'advantage' of saving the clinic actually having to do much preperation of their hideous 'mico' grafts. Then strip with Dr Cole a number of years ago which honestly was amazing in comparison- I didnt know the tissue had been removed for a 1000fu strip.
Just focusing on the 'old school methods' for a bit, the nobel clinic thing left my scalp tight numb & painful for the best part of two years, the Dr Cole strip felt basically comfortable after about a week or so and was sleepable on after a few days, I think I recovered 'normal' feeling after a couple of months but my scalp was never as numb as my awful UK experience.
More recently I had fue at Atlanta and from the first night I could sleep on the donor aria, it felt at worst like the sort of tissue 'bruise' you get when you burst a spot of pimple, recovery was comparable to that, basically no symptoms at all withing a week tops.
I have to say if I were starting out I'd go for no strip. But keep asking smart questions!
PS- I am personally banned from Pat's Hair Transplant network after posting about my brilliant experience with Dr Cole, so you are 100% right that there is censorship on a number of forums