Acupuncture Myths and Misconceptions
Cybil Kendrick, L.Ac.
Even though acupuncture and Chinese medicine are much more common modalities these days there are still many misconceptions about this ancient medicine.
1) It is painful
Sadly in the west needles have a very negative connotation because we are used to bigger hypodermic needles which are used to draw blood or inject medicines. Acupuncture needles are solid and as fine as a single hair on your head. To say you will feel nothing is not true either, sometimes there can be a prick upon insertion and when in the acupuncture point or a muscle there can be a heavy sensation or ache around the needle but nothing that would be out of the comfort zone of the patient.
2) It is too expensive
Acupuncture treatments work to prevent a myriad of chronic conditions and can be super efficient in treating acute conditions as well. So when compared to the number of drugs, therapies and dr./hospital visits that can become very costly, acupuncture treatments can be surprisingly affordable. Insurance companies are covering treatments more often now as well and there are community acupuncture options as well as treatments at schools that can be less expensive.
3) If you don't see results in just one or two treatments acupuncture doesn't work for you
Everyone is different and each condition is different so some people may respond quickly with a relatively new injury or complaint, where others may need 8-10 treatments to see a significant shift. And if you have been working with an acupuncturist for several treatments and not seeing the changes you hope for, it may be time to try another acupuncturist as there are many different styles and modalities with in Chinese medicine and one may be better suited for you.
4) Acupuncture is unhygienic
Acupuncture needles are sterile and single use, we never reuse them. Acupuncturist are required to take clean needle technique courses and in this time of COVID we are going above and beyond this regulations to ensure that the treatment rooms and everything in them are cleaned and sterilized where necessary.
5) Acupuncture is only good at treating physical pain
Pain is just one of many conditions acupuncture and Chinese medicine can treat. I often answer this question saying that if you don't need major medical intervention - surgery, hospitalization, etc. acupuncture can often help tremendously. It can help with many stress related conditions like headaches, insomnia, TMJD, anxiety, depression, digestive complaints, PMS, etc. as well as fertility, menopause, allergies, colds, side effects related to chemotherapy. The beauty of this medicine is that it doesn't matter what western medical diagnosis you come in with we as practitioners are looking at your symptoms through our own Chinese medical lens and using our knowledge to help your body come back into balance. Once there is balance then your body can manage the stressors more easily and not so reactively.
Acupuncture is a very non-invasive treatment that can benefit everyone even if you don't have something "wrong' with you. I hope if you have been on the fence about trying it you will reconsider and give it a try, I'm pretty sure you'll love it.
Cybil Kendrick, L.Ac.,MSOM, C.SMA, RMT is a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) with her masters in Oriental medicine (MSOM) and is certified in Sports Medicine Acupuncture® (C.SMA) and massage therapy (RMT).