Acupuncture is powerful medicine. Its benefits are many and irrefutable. Yet I commonly hear people say they are afraid to try it and so they continue to needlessly suffer with their condition. So I decided to write this article to help dispel some of the fears and myths about acupuncture. Hopefully, with just a bit of demystifying, I can help open the door for you or someone you know to seek care.
There are many concerns that I hear from people about acupuncture. Of course the most common one is the fear of needles
. The needles we use in acupuncture are very fine- nothing like the hypodermic needles you’ve received a shot or had your blood drawn with. In fact they are so fine that some people have a hard time seeing them. Skilled acupuncturists are adept at inserting the needle so that the patient often feels nothing
or just a slight sensation at the needle site. Patients often look astonished to see a needle that they cannot feel. It is often around this time they report a feeling of calm starting to come over them. This is what happens when the Chi (life force energy) starts to circulate through the body.
I am often asked if the needles are reused.
The answer is absolutely not
. The needles we use are sterile, stainless steel and disposable. This means that the needle is opened and removed from its sterile packaging, used one time, then removed and placed in a disposable sharps medical waste container.
Another concern people have is the training. Just how much training does it take to become an acupuncturist? Acupuncturists in the United States must earn a Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine from an accredited school. After a rigourous 4 year program including a 1 year clinical internship, they must pass a difficult board exam and then apply to their state for licensure.
Here is a testimonial from a patient who was afraid of needles but really needed help. She took a leap into the unknown and it paid off.
“I have been scared of needles since a young child. At age 4 I went to Boston Children's Hospital to have a very intensive surgery. That one surgery & hospital stay left me scarred emotionally and terrified of needles. I have spent my entire life avoiding injections of any kind & I would never give blood or have an IV-no matter what.
I never thought it would ever be possible for me to do acupuncture but after trying it & conquering my fear, I realized I could hardly feel the needles
Even though I have only done acupuncture for a relatively short time it has had a very positive impact on my physical & emotional well-being. Sometimes I can't believe how good I feel after a session. My mind is so calm & I feel so peaceful. I feel like I am more aware of my body & keeping it in balance. The acupuncture has helped me a great deal with my migraines & general anxiety I used to struggle with for many years.
I personally feel missing out on the benefits of acupuncture due to a fear of needles would have been a real shame considering all the benefits it has provided me. Nothing else has helped me like this & I am grateful to know what good health feels like.”
Cheri Beauchamin - Social Activist
When Cheri came in for treatment she let me know right away about her fear. After I put the first needle in I looked at her and she asked, “You already did it?!” She looked amazed. We did a few more points and she remarked that she could barely feel anything. After the first treatment she commented how calm she felt. By getting 2 treatments per week for a few weeks and incorporating some lifestyle changes, she made a rapid recovery from long standing migraines and a host of other problems and is now leading a healthy life.
Cheri’s story is encouragement to anyone who has a fear of needles and is wondering if acupuncture can help them. If you are letting your fear get between you and a healthy life, it may be time to take a step.
Also ready about: the amazing benefits of acupuncture