Acupuncture – Separating Fact From Fiction
Published on 1st August 2019
Acupuncture has been around for over 4,000 years and has been used successfully to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world. It has also picked up a few myths along the way, so we are going to help you separate the facts from the fiction!
Myth 1 – Acupuncture uses needles so it must hurt!
A typical acupuncture needle is around 0.18mm thick, to put this into perspective human hair ranges from 0.02mm to 0.12mm thick! When people think of acupuncture needles, they often think of the hypodermic needles used to give injections – you can fit around 20 acupuncture needles into one hypodermic needle! Acupuncture needles are inserted just under the skin and, in the hands of an experienced and skilled acupuncturist, most people won’t feel the needle being inserted. It is more likely that you will feel a sensation of warmth, tingling or heaviness and these sensations are positive signs of changes taking place.
Myth 2 – Acupuncture has no place in modern medicine!
Many medical institutions around the world recommend acupuncture. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends acupuncture as a valid treatment for a variety of health conditions and the National Institute of Health (NIH) fund many clinical research trials on the use of acupuncture. In the UK the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for pain relief.
Myth 3 – People who practice, or receive, acupuncture are “quacks”!
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncturists train for 4 years to learn their craft. British doctors often train in acupuncture and offer it to patients as pain relief.
People who receive acupuncture often choose to do so either as part of their mainstream health treatments or as an alternative after having tried mainstream medicine. In some cases, acupuncture helps people combat the side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy or is used in conjunction with conventional treatments like IVF or fertility treatment.
Acupuncture is sometimes the only suitable treatment as in the case of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy where there is a reluctance to use medications.
Myth 4 – Acupuncture is only good for pain relief!
Acupuncture does help pain – including knee pain, back pain, migraine, stomach pain and menstrual cramps - but it is also used to help with high blood pressure, skin problems, depression, anxiety and a whole host of other conditions.
Myth 5 – The effects of acupuncture are all in the mind!
Studies show that during acupuncture the brain begins to release endorphins that are natural pain killers. Research evidence in the US involving MRI scans, shows chemical changes to the brain occur while having acupuncture, indicating that the benefits of acupuncture are not purely psychological.
Myth 6 – If you don’t see a change in one or two treatments, then you will not see any benefits!
Everyone responds to acupuncture differently; some will see results after a single treatment, whilst others will notice improvement after 2 or 3 sessions. As the effects of acupuncture are cumulative, the benefits will likely last longer between sessions the more regularly you have them.
Myth 7 – You need a doctor’s referral!
Nope! There are different kinds of acupuncture treatments around but the most common is provided by traditional acupuncturists who have had a minimum of 3600 hours of training at degree level. Acupuncture provided by health professionals such as physiotherapists and doctors, is generally medical acupuncture and they train for around 200 hours as an “add on” to their professional training.
For an appointment with one of our TCM acupuncturists all you need to do is give us a call and we will be happy to book you in. We have daytime, evening and weekend appointments available so we should be able to find a time to suit you.
If we haven’t dispelled all your myths about acupuncture, or if you have any questions at all, feel free to give one of our friendly team a call on 01457 835491.
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