Although acupuncture has become an increasingly popular therapy, there remain many myths and misconceptions associated with its practice that could prevent some individuals from trying it and reaping the many advantages it can bring.
Acupuncture can help relieve joint pain, such as backache, headaches, stomach ache and menstrual cramps. It also serves to treat nausea/vomiting from chemotherapy treatment side effects; morning sickness; high blood pressure (hypertension); allergies; depression and infertility.
1. Acupuncture needles hurt
Acupuncture has been practiced safely and successfully for more than 2,550 years as an alternative medical therapy, used to treat various health issues including pain relief and stiffness.
Acupuncture can also help enhance mood and sleep patterns. Acupuncture works by regulating the energy (pronounced chee) that flows throughout your body to keep you healthy – stress, environmental factors, lifestyle choices can block this flow – so acupuncture may be used to unblock or move this flow to where it’s most needed.
To maximize the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments, it’s best to visit an experienced practitioner. They should use only sterile needles while tailoring treatments at a pace suitable to you.
If you experience any discomfort, notify your acupuncturist as soon as possible so they can take appropriate measures to ease it, such as changing your position or placing the needle in an area with less nerve activity.
Some individuals report feeling a slight pinching or tingling sensation when the needle first enters their skin; this is normal and will diminish over time.
Your acupuncturist may twist the needle a few times during treatment, but this shouldn’t cause any harm or discomfort. Acupuncturists use this practice to stimulate certain points on your body and can be an effective way to relieve pain and tension.
An acupuncturist uses extremely thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body to activate qi (the life force energy), the life-force that keeps us alive and well. Acupuncture has also proven useful for treating numerous health issues ranging from low back pain and muscle stiffness to headaches and tension.
Most patients report feeling no or minimal pain during an acupuncture treatment session and find the experience relaxing. Because it’s hard to tell how the session is progressing, it is essential that you keep track of how you’re feeling throughout and notify your acupuncturist of any pain issues as soon as they arise.
Acupuncture is a safe, gentle therapy that’s easy to schedule, typically lasting 30 minutes or less. Your acupuncturist will discuss how best to prepare for and what can be expected during an appointment.
2. Acupuncture needles are painful
People may avoid acupuncture due to fear that it might hurt, but most experience no discomfort whatsoever!
As soon as a needle is inserted, you may experience a slight pinching sensation which should go away after several minutes.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical technique which uses needles to stimulate specific points on the body, in order to treat various health conditions including stress, anxiety, chronic pain and sleep disturbances.
Homeostasis, or balance in the body, is also encouraged with these techniques. The goal is to release qi, or vital energy, through these points for release.
Acupuncturists use needles of various gauges and lengths, typically targeting thinner skin or muscles while the longer needles can target larger muscle groups.
An acupuncturist uses their fingers to gently guide a needle into your skin and then pushes it deeper into an acupuncture point, potentially producing mild pinching or tingling sensations.
This sensation, known as Zhen Gan in Chinese, is similar to what one may feel after being cut or scraped.
Acupuncture needles are constructed from stainless steel and come in various sizes and widths to fit their purpose, from those being used for vaccinations to drawing blood samples. Hypodermic needles used in vaccination or blood collection tend to be much thicker.
Modern acupuncture needles are designed to be sterile and disposable, to avoid transmitting germs between patients or polluting the environment. If discomfort is an issue for you during treatment, ask your acupuncturist which types of needles they use.
After receiving an acupuncture treatment, patients frequently report experiencing emotional relief, calmness and pain relief. This is because needles stimulate a healing process in their bodies to help relieve physical symptoms while simultaneously supporting long-term health benefits.
Acupuncture can provide relief for a range of health issues, from stress to insomnia to eczema. Furthermore, it can improve quality of life through weight loss assistance, depression reduction and anxiety relief as well as treating headaches and indigestion.
3. Acupuncture needles are dangerous
Acupuncture is an ancient, safe, drug-free treatment option that has long been proven effective against pain. But many find its needle insertion unnerving.
There are a lot of acupuncture myths based on this misconception, making it essential to understand what an acupuncture needle actually looks like. Contrary to what may have been told you previously, they differ significantly from the needles found at medical offices or hospitals: hollow, stainless steel needles that must penetrate skin in order for treatment to take effect.
Normal acupuncture sessions involve needles being inserted through your skin by an experienced practitioner using a sterile technique, though in rare instances the needle could penetrate organs or the central nervous system.
One of the more serious complications associated with acupuncture treatment occurs when needles are improperly inserted, typically at an incorrect angle or depth. If they strike nerves they could cause burning sensations as well as temporary weakness in that area.
Another uncommon but serious complication occurs when a needle breaks off within muscle or tissue and becomes embedded. While this may have been caused by incorrect needle placement during treatment, such instances are only ever likely when using substandard needles that break easily.
After experiencing an acupuncture session, patients often report feeling calmer and refreshed – this is due to how needles stimulated the body’s natural ability to relax, release tension and decrease inflammation.
Acupuncture treatment generally uses several needles, and may take multiple sessions to be completed successfully. Some individuals may see noticeable improvements within just the first couple of treatments.
In the US, acupuncture needles must be sterile and used only by certified practitioners. Receiving unqualified or noncompliant acupuncture could increase your risk of infection and organ puncture as well as bloodborne illnesses like Hepatitis B or HIV.