Are You Afraid of Acupuncture?

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The # 2 response to my poll question “Why don’t more people try acupuncture” was “They’re afraid of it.”

Two thoughts come to my mind about that response. One is that part of the apprehension may come from fear of the unknown. Many people aren’t familiar with acupuncture, which causes it to seem scary. I’ll talk more about that next blog, since “They don’t know enough about it” was the #1 answer.

The other main issue is fear of needles. Since acupuncture is fairly new to our country (but thousands of years old in other parts of the world), even people who don’t have a true phobia may consider getting stuck with needles to be a little weird. I once had an acquaintance tell me that the term acupuncture should be changed so that it didn’t include the word “puncture.”

I’ll admit that sometimes even I find it odd that I stick needles in people for a living. Yet I’ve also seen remarkable improvements in people’s lives as a result of these tiny needles.

The problem is that the term “needle” immediately conjures images of large hypodermics that you get stuck with at the doctor’s office. But acupuncture needles are actually much thinner and shorter than hypodermics. In fact, they are smaller than even the needles used for insulin injections, and smaller than the needles used on infants!

Some people have suggested that we call our tools “pins,” “filaments,” or “wires” because these are what acupuncture “needles” resemble.

Because the needles are so fine (and sterile and disposable, by the way), they don’t hurt when they’re inserted. If you can handle a mosquito bite, you will have no problem getting acupuncture.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this picture, which shows the needle in a practitioner’s hand. Or, better yet, come in for an appointment and try it out yourself!

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