Common Fears and Misconceptions about Acupuncture
1. “I don’t like needles.”
Fear of needles is fairly common. Many people experience stress and anxiety at the thought of a medical professional sticking them with a needle. From blood draws to stitches and vaccinations, needle experiences can be uncomfortable and/or unpleasant, therefore needle apprehension is very common and natural. We have been conditioned to associate needles with pain. But acupuncture needles are hair-thin and nothing like the needles we are accustomed to in a medical setting. Acupuncture is the most gentle form of needling possible. Most people who have never had acupuncture do not realize how thin acupuncture needles are, they actually bend when you touch them. If you are not open to needles, there are other modalities that acupuncturists can use. There’s acupressure, Tui Na (Chinese massage), cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, ear seeds, herbs, Shonishin (pediatric form of non-inserted treatment technique), among others. None of these involve needles.
The quick answer is no, it doesn’t. To the naked eye, acupuncture needles are thinner than a human hair. Hypodermic needles are hollow to allow for fluid transfer, whereas acupuncture needles are sold making them less invasive and as a result you feel them significantly less. Upon insertion you might feel a tingle, or a warm sensation, which is completely normal and usually fades within seconds. You may also feel very relaxed or drowsy during your treatment and nap. After your treatment, you will likely leave with an increased sense of well-being.
3. “It isn’t safe.”
At the TCM Clinic, we take great care to make sure that our policies and practices follow the strictest guidelines of cleanliness and patient safety is our highest priority. All of our acupuncturists are required to take and pass a Clean Needle Technique (CNT) course prior to treating patients. Acupuncture needles are factory-sealed to ensure sterility. Acupuncture needles are used once, they are never re-used. Following CNT guidelines, the necessary acupuncture points will be cleaned with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol. A clean cotton ball will be used to close the points as each acupuncture needle is removed.