10 Myths about Acupuncture

There are a lot of misconceptions about acupuncture but the truth is that this practice has been around for more than 3,500 years and provides relief to people around the world.

Myth 1: Acupuncture must hurt as it uses needles

Fact: Although we use needles, they are very fine. You may feel an initial prick but any discomfort will fade quickly on its own or ease up as your acupuncturist adjusts the needles. You should experience a sensation often described as heaviness, throbbing or an electrical sensation, this is your body’s healing energy doing its work.

Myth 2: Acupuncture is not recommended by legitimate healthcare professionals 

Fact: Acupuncture is a treatment option that many medical institutions recommend. Even the United States military uses acupuncture. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds many clinical research trials on acupuncture. Both the NIH and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize acupuncture as a valid treatment for a wide range of conditions.

Myth 3: Most people who use or practice acupuncture are into ‘New Age’ healing

Fact: On the contrary, you probably have a friend, co-worker or neighbour who has had acupuncture at some point and I assure you I won’t chant or play dolphin music.

Myth 4: Acupuncture may conflict with medication, other therapies and mainstream conventional medical treatments

Fact: There is no conflict between acupuncture and conventional medicine, they complement one another and works well as an adjunct to your conventional treatment plan.

Myth 5: Acupuncture is only useful in treating pain

Fact: Acupuncture is very beneficial in relieving back/neck pain, headaches and menstrual cramps. However, acupuncture is also used to treat nausea/vomiting, chemotherapy side effects, morning sickness, hypertension, allergies, depression, infertility and many other conditions.

Myth 6: Acupuncture has a lot of side effects and you will need time off work

Fact: Acupuncture has few to no side effects. After your acupuncture session you can carry on with your day without any restrictions, you may just feel tired afterwards.

Myth 7: Acupuncture’s effects are psychological. It doesn’t really do anything

Fact:  Acupuncture and its effects are far from psychological. Studies show that during acupuncture our brains begin to release chemicals such as endorphins (natural painkillers) Acupuncture also has an anti-inflammatory effect and benefits the immune system.

Myth 8: Once you start acupuncture, you’ll always need acupuncture

Fact: For most conditions, acupuncturists strive to improve your main problem so you do not have to return for more treatment. For chronic conditions, some people stay on a maintenance schedule, returning once a month or whenever they feel they need a top up.

Myth 9: If you do not see results in one or two treatments then you’re unlikely to benefit from acupuncture

Fact: The response to acupuncture is always an individual one. Some people respond after one or two treatments, others need a full course of six to 8 treatments. Acupuncture has a cumulative effect and builds with each treatment. 

Myth 10: You’ll need a doctor’s referral

Fact: Most insurance companies will cover the cost of acupuncture and most don’t ask for a doctor’s referral. Generally they just give you a claim number and occasionally ask the acupuncturist for a treatment plan for an idea of how many treatments you will need.  It is important that you find a qualified acupuncturist before starting any course of treatment.

Jo Vessey BSc (Hons) TCM: Acupuncture MBAcC 

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