Lots of people have heard myths about acupuncture. That’s no surprise, because not as many people have gotten past them and on to the benefits of the medicine. So, in the interest of clearing a few things up, let’s talk about the top 5 myths about acupuncture.
Myth #1: Acupuncture hurts! (Otherwise known as “There’s no way I’m letting you stick needles in my body.”)
Acupuncture needles are teeeeeny tiny. I often tell people that I wish I had a different word for them, because many people hear “needle” and freeze up. I don’t blame you! If your frame of reference is the hypodermic needles used when giving blood or getting a vaccination, those aren’t tiny, and yep – they hurt.
In the hands of a skilled, gentle acupuncturist, you’ll feel little to no discomfort. This doesn’t mean you won’t feel anything. Lots of people notice heaviness or a radiating sensation from points, but they usually say “Cool!” and take a relaxing nap.
Myth #2: Acupuncture doesn’t work.
Acupuncture has been helping people for thousands of years. But just as people have different responses to medication or surgery, people have different responses to acupuncture. Some people see quick, dramatic changes. Others experience more gradual, subtle effects.
Occasionally, people find that acupuncture doesn’t help them, and in those cases, I work to find a referral to another type of health care provider. My end goal is always, always for you to feel better.
Myth #3: But I tried it once, and it didn’t work.
I believe you. The problem is, acupuncture isn’t much like taking an Advil when something hurts. It’s more like watering grass that’s gone brown. You have to keep watering the grass for it to turn green again, right?
Acupuncture works in a similar way. Some people do feel completely better after one visit, but it usually takes longer, especially for chronic conditions. Communication is key here: I want you to know what to expect. I always tell you how many initial treatments I feel are necessary for your condition, and we’ll reassess together as needed.
Myth #4: I can’t get acupuncture because I’m already taking medications for my condition or seeing another kind of practitioner.
In almost all cases, acupuncture is a very safe therapy to use if you’re taking pharmaceutical medications. Combining different types of treatment works well too. For example, chiropractic adjustments can be easier and hold longer when paired with acupuncture.
If you’re unsure, talk with an acupuncturist and your other health care providers about a coordinated treatment plan.
Myth #5: Acupuncture treats pain, right? Nothing hurts right now.
Acupuncture’s great at treating pain. As a matter of fact, the military uses it in battlefield situations. But that’s definitely not all it can do.
Because acupuncture affects so many of our bodies’ systems – the nervous system, the immune system, the digestive system – it can treat many things. Trouble sleeping? Chronic stress or fatigue? Morning sickness? A kid who keeps getting ear infections? The list goes on, and you might be surprised!
Bonus (non-myth!) #6: I’m still not really sure about this.
That’s okay! Acupuncture is an ancient system of medicine, but it’s still pretty new in this part of the world, and lots of people have questions. I’m happy to answer yours, and I invite you to experience the awesome benefits of acupuncture for yourself.