Poking Holes in Acupuncture Myths

acupuncture needles

Acupuncture Myth 1: It Hurts (or Doesn’t)
Reality: Acupuncture is generally a gentle process. The level of discomfort that is experienced with the insertion of an acupuncture needle varies from “none” to a brief “ouch.”  A person’s acupuncture experience depends on several factors, including where the needle is inserted, how quickly the needle is inserted, the size (diameter) of the needle, the skill of the practitioner and the patient’s level of apprehension. 

Acupuncture Myth 2: It is Voodoo
Reality: While historical explanations of the workings of acupuncture refer to a mysterious “life energy” termed Qi, as well as the concepts of Yin & Yang and the Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water), a more modern explanation suggests that acupuncture stimulates sensory receptors, which in turn activates certain processing centers in the spinal cord and brain. When these centers are activated, they release endorphins and other pain-relieving chemicals, as well as immune system cells, which aid healing. Scientific studies have shown that acupuncture not only works on a psychological level, but also affects the brain’s ability to reduce and regulate pain.

Acupuncture Myth 3: It is a replacement for Western Allopathic (Modern) Medicine
Reality: No complementary or alternative therapy is a complete replacement for western allopathic medicine, commonly known as modern medicine, practiced by physicians and mid-level practitioners. However, as demonstrated with its use over several thousands of years as primary and specialty medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can be useful as an adjunct therapy in most medical conditions. Acupuncture can be especially useful for conditions such as chronic pain, environmental allergies, migraines and neuropathy.

Learn more about Renown’s Medical Acupuncture services.