A while ago, I asked my business group for their most pressing acupuncture questions. From their responses, I’ve compiled the most common questions and I noticed one distinct trend — there are a lot of questions about the needles! So let’s start answering those questions and “get to the point”!
Do acupuncture needles hurt?
This question is always a little tricky because it depends on what you mean by “hurt.”
Acupuncture needles do not feel like getting a shot. Unlike hypodermic or lab needles, acupuncture needles are thin, tiny and flexible. They are not inserted deeply. In fact, we can fit 5-7 of our needles inside the beveled end of the lab needle!
However, you might feel something. Sometimes you may feel a prick—like getting a mosquito bite or stepping on a small rock. You may feel tingling or fullness when the needles are adjusted. But in most cases, you’ll forget the needles are even there as you rest on the table.
Are there any side effects from acupuncture?
There are rarely side effects from acupuncture. Sometimes there may be bruising or soreness, especially if you have a cupping or Gua Sha ( a Chinese massage technique where different shaped tools are gently scraped on the skin to release fascia and other superficial tissues below the skin). Or you may feel light-headed or ungrounded after a session. Occasionally, clients will experience an emotional release. When people complain of worsening symptoms or fatigue from acupuncture, often it is actually a sign of healing. If your Qi has been blocked, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms as it resumes flowing. To understand this, imagine a garden hose with a kink in it. The kink stops the water from flowing; when you straighten it out, the water bursts out of the hose before it begins flowing normally again xenical 120. Qi behaves the same way. If you notice your symptoms getting worse after a treatment, let your acupuncturist know. We 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. Of course, I don’t think acupuncture is a placebo. I have seen acupuncture work on many patients and I’ve seen extraordinary results. I have no doubt about its efficacy and confidently recommend it to everyone. But 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 the biggest question to ask yourself is if you have seen results. Does acupuncture work for you? Do you feel better after an appointment?
Why do you turn the needles?
If turning needles is appropriate for you and your case, turning the needles helps them work more effectively. It both helps move Qi and tells me if the Qi has started to move.
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 skin-deep. If you are really concerned about the health risks of acupuncture, contact your acupuncturist. They should 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. Acupuncture needles are very fine in diameter.
Can you treat young kids?
Acupuncture is effective for all ages, all stages of life, from babies to the elderly. I happen to specialize in and welcome treating kids because I have found most children respond even more quickly to treatments than adults.
Does my insurance pay for acupuncture?
This depends on what state you live in and what insurance carrier/plan you have. I always recommend my clients to call the Member’s Service number on the back of their insurance card and ask that exact question. If they say no, some insurance companies participate in discount preventative health plans so ask if your plan participates. If yes, ask what the percentage off the price of the acupuncture is and report that amount to your acupuncturist. Most acupuncturists honor those discounts.
Does acupuncture help ______________?
I get all sorts of questions about what acupuncture can help. Can it treat infertility? Does it help turn a breech baby? Will it help me stop smoking? Instead of answering each question individually, I’ll share a list of the types of conditions it helps. If you don’t see your condition answered here, call your acupuncturist because this list is definitely not comprehensive.
o Abdominal pain
o Cancer pain
o Chronic gastritis
o Menstrual issues
o Knee pain
o Low back pain
o Morning sickness
o Nausea & vomiting
o Neck pain
o Post-operative pain
o Pregnancy issues
o Premenstrual syndrome
o Sore throat
o Tennis elbow
It goes without saying, call me or your local acupuncturist and we can answer any questions or concerns you may have. Chinese Medicine and acupuncture have been around for 2000+ years so something must be working if it has lasted this long and we’re still finding great results with our clients!