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Honest Answers to Your Top Acupuncture Questions

meridian-man-headA few weeks ago, I asked for your most pressing acupuncture questions.  I’ve compiled the most common questions and I noticed one distinct trend—there are a lot of questions about the needles.  Some of you must be nervous about getting needled! It’s understandable but, as you will see, unnecessary.

If these acupuncture answers don’t put your fears to rest, call me for more information.  Acupuncture reduces pain, relieves stress and brings good health, relaxation and vitality.  I don’t want fear to stop you from getting the help you need.

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

By most definitions, the answer would be “no.”  Most people are used to getting shots with hypodermic needles which are hollow and relatively thick.  Acupuncture needles are thin, tiny and flexible – more like thin wires.  They are not inserted deeply.  While you might feel a needle now and again, they usually don’t elicit more than the sensation of a mosquito bite.  Most patients don’t feel much of a sensation at all.  Once the needles are in place, most patients feel very relaxed.  Some even fall asleep enjoying a good nap during their treatment.

Are there any side-effects from acupuncture?

There are rarely side-effects from acupuncture.  Sometimes there may be bruising or temporary soreness.  While it is very unusual, occasionally a patient may feel light-headed for a minute or so after a session.  To avoid this, if you have low blood sugar, make sure that you have eaten before your treatment.

It is uncommon, but there can be a temporary aggravation of pre-existing symptoms.  The reason that this can happen is because pain is a result of poor circulation of energy.  In most cases, patients just start to feel better and better.  This means the acupuncture is able to move the energy smoothly.  When there is temporary discomfort I like to use the image of trying to move an elephant through a hallway.  If the elephant resists being moved, there has to be a certain amount of commotion (discomfort) to get it going.

If you notice your symptoms getting worse after a treatment, contact me.  I can suggest ways to reduce your discomfort and speed your healing.

Is acupuncture a placebo?

This is a hotly contested question in the scientific community.  Periodically a new study comes out, proving or disproving acupuncture.

Acupuncture research has mixed results and it’s hard to weed through all the studies to come to a conclusion.  Many studies about acupuncture are poorly designed with too small a sample or subjective results.  Some studies focus on acupuncture for a single disease or condition and don’t translate their findings into broad conclusions.  And of course, “acupuncture” is a broad term describing many techniques and many styles of practice.  It’s hard to study all the variations.

One big stumbling block to proving that acupuncture works is that Western science doesn’t understand how it works.  There are many theories but none of them cover all the effects of acupuncture all of the time.  Since scientists can’t figure it out, they continue to question if it really exists. I think acupuncture’s 2500 year history of success speaks volumes.

Of course, I don’t think acupuncture is a placebo.  It works equally well for toddlers and pets who have no expectations. Personally, I have seen acupuncture work on countless patients with extraordinary results.  I have no doubt about its efficacy and confidently recommend it to most everyone. Don’t take my word for it.  Have a look at the testimonials page on this website where you can hear about healing experiences from people just like you.

If you have had acupuncture, then the biggest question to ask yourself is if you have seen results.  Does acupuncture work for you?

Can you poke through my organs?

No, I will not poke through any organs other than your skin.  Acupuncture needles are very thin and tiny, and are only inserted to a very shallow depth or into muscle tissue. There is no reason to go deeper than that.

However if you Google this topic, you will find alarming articles which claim that acupuncture can lead to lung collapse. Many of these articles refer to a study by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, which found some cases of pneumothorax (collapsed lung) caused by acupuncture.

I don’t know the details of these cases but they are very surprising.  It’s hard to imagine a situation where a well-trained acupuncturist would puncture a lung.  The few cases that I am familiar with seem to be a result of poor training and carelessness on the part of the acupuncturist.  In twenty-two years of practice, this has never happened with my patients.  It’s also interesting to note that the NHS (the source of the study) concludes that acupuncture is a “low harm” treatment.  The NHS notes that these cases are very, very rare compared to the millions of acupuncture treatments each year.

If you are really concerned about the health risks of acupuncture, contact me.  Let’s talk.  I will answer all of your questions openly and honestly so you can make an informed choice.

Will acupuncture needles make me bleed?

Generally, no.  Sometimes there is a tiny droplet of blood but it is easily wiped away with a cotton ball.  Remember, acupuncture needles are very fine.

Can you treat young Children?

Acupuncture is effective for all ages, all stages of life, from babies to the elderly.  I welcome kids and find that most children respond more quickly to treatment than adults. I think that this is because their bodies have had less time to become toxic and stressed.  When children are willing to have acupuncture, I use extra-fine needles.  If not, there are also alternatives to the needles.

Does acupuncture help ______________?

I get all sorts of questions about what acupuncture can help.  Can it treat infertility?  Will it help me stop smoking?  Can it treat anxiety?

Instead of answering each question individually, I’ll share a list of some of the conditions it helps.  If you don’t see your condition listed, refer to the bottom of the home page or call me.  This list is by no means comprehensive.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Addictions
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Cancer pain
  • Chronic gastritis
  • Depression
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Menstrual issues
  • Earache
  • Infertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Knee pain
  • Low back pain
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Post-operative pain
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Sore throat
  • Sprains
  • Stress
  • Strokes
  • TMJ
  • Tennis elbow
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