People say acupuncture helps them relax and that it restores their energy. But one look at those needles and you might be thinking, “no way can I do that” or “oh, that looks painful.” Yet, millions of people willingly subject themselves to acupuncture therapy every year — people who had the same fears you have, right now. So let’s get to work on replacing those fears with facts. Who knows…you might just change your mind about this ancient form of alternative medicine.
- Acupuncture is Not a Fad
While there is some debate that surrounds its exact origins, acupuncture has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years. In that time, new acupuncture practices were introduced and popularity expanded. Acupuncture is now one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine in the US. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 3.1 million Americans tried acupuncture in 2007, an increase of one million from 2002.
- Acupuncture is Not a Religion
Chinese medicine is all about integrating the mind, body and spirit. As a result, it often attracts patients want to feel healing in multiple areas of their lives. In this respect, it is similar to yoga. While acupuncture may have had closer ties to religion in its past, now it is widely practiced by physicians, chiropractors, dentists, acupuncturists and other practitioners, regardless of faith.
- Acupuncture Needles Aren’t Like Regular Needles
When we think of needles, our mind automatically jumps to the ones we’re used to — the needles used to draw blood and give shots. However, acupuncture needles are different. These needles are much thinner — if you were to touch one, it would bend easily. When the needle goes in, most patients feel a slight pressure, but the discomfort is far lower compared to an injection.
- Needles Are Only Part of the Story
While acupuncture itself does involve the use of needles, acupuncturists use a number of other techniques that don’t. These include acupressure, gua sha, cupping, herbs, moxibustion, ear seeds, qigong, and more
- Acupuncturists Go at Your Pace
On the day of your first appointment, talk to your acupuncturist about your concerns. If you are nervous about the needles, say so. The acupuncturist can always start with just a few needles, take them out sooner, or concentrate on other therapies until you’re ready.
- Traditional Medicine Isn’t the Only Way to Heal
Alternative medicine often gets a bad rap because it isn’t so cut and dry. Success can’t always be measured — sometimes things just work and we don’t know why. With traditional medicine we get a diagnosis and a solution that’s been researched and tested. With alternative medicine we get results that vary by person and can’t always be backed up by science. However, that doesn’t mean alternative medicine doesn’t work. Plenty of people have gotten results from acupuncture. If they didn’t, this form of therapy wouldn’t have died out long ago and millions of people wouldn’t be making appointments year after year.
- There Are No Drugs to Take
If you’ve ever seen a drug commercial, you know that every drug comes with a laundry list of side effects – nausea, blindness, rashes, blood clots, stroke, even cancer. Acupuncture is different. While there are some potential side effects, the chances that you’ll actually experience them are slim, which brings us to point #8…
- Choosing a Licensed Professional
The reason you don’t have to worry about side effects is because you’re going to choose a licensed acupuncturist. Not sure which one to choose, read the reviews or ask friends and family for referrals. You can also check with your current doctor. More and more physicians, chiropractors, dentists and other practitioners, are adding acupuncture to list of services.
- Acupuncture Has Many Benefits
Acupuncture can be used as a treatment or a preventative. It can give your immune system and energy levels a boost, help reduce allergy symptoms, relieve lower back pain, even help you lose weight. As with many other types of therapy, acupuncture doesn’t work for everyone, but when it does, the patient’s quality of life is much improved.
- Acupuncture Can Even Treat Anxiety You’re Feeling Right Now
Yes, the thing you’re anxious about can actually make you less anxious. So sit back, relax, and give it a chance.
If you have any additional questions about acupuncture, Dr. Neil Koppel is our resident acupuncture expert. Based in our Naples, Florida office, Dr. Koppel’s skills and expertise encompass acupuncture (with or without needles), chiropractic care, Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA), anti-aging nutrition, and Oriental Medicine therapies. If you have additional questions about acupuncture, please call 239-300-1756. We’re here to help.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatm