Acupuncture Doesn’t Really Hurt

There’s one reason most people won’t try acupuncture: they’re afraid it’ll hurt. Unfortunately, that totally misinformed notion of what acupuncture feels like is keeping many people from getting valuable help for things that really do hurt, like back pain or chronic headaches. Let’s take a moment to dispel some of the myths and fears surrounding acupuncture.


“I don’t like needles…”

Maybe you’ve had a tattoo before and remember the incredible burning pain of needles raking your skin. Maybe you just remember too vividly how scary it was when you were a kid (or even now!) to go to the doctor’s for a shot, or to get blood drawn. Maybe you’re just an avid sewer who knows how much it hurts to stab yourself in the finger by accident and have a bruised thumb for a week. People don’t like needles, because they have bad, painful experiences with them. But acupuncture needles aren’t like normal needles. In fact, they’re so thin, and so unlike, for example, a sewing needle, it’s almost a pity we don’t have a different word for them.


“I don’t think it’s safe…”

Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years. It was first used in its rudimentary forms in China 5,000 or even 7,000 years ago. Though it’s not entirely understood how or why it works, a practice this ancient isn’t just a fad, and literally millions of people throughout history could attest to its benefits. And for anyone who’s worried about the dangers of dirty needles, almost all acupuncturists in America today use pre-sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles, and there is absolutely no chance of transmitting a communicable disease.


“What about the cramping…”

It’s true that acupuncture, when it’s working correctly, will cause some sensation in your tissue. Usually the patient will feel cramping, heaviness, distention, or tingling, which is exactly how you know its having an effect on your nervous system and on the muscle. In English, people will often lump these experiences together as a kind of “pain,” but in Chinese, they are understood to be very different, and often part of the healing process.


You’ve probably heard it from many different people and sources, but we’ll tell you again: acupuncture doesn’t hurt. Pictures of acupuncture might look like “human pincushion” torture techniques, but patients almost always feel calm and peaceful during treatments, and always feel better when the leave than when they came. The only way to find out for sure is to come in yourself, so if your fear has been holding you back from setting an appointment with Washington State Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Center, call us today!

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