Does Acupuncture Work? Debunking 5 Common Myths

There is no doubt that acupuncture has a lot of benefits, and those benefits are going to provide you long lasting health perks in the long run. Acupuncture is a major part of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been available for over 2000 years, but some people still doubt the authenticity of it. So, if you want to know about some of the misconceptions which are revolving around acupuncture, then read on.

1. Painful

The most common misconception about acupuncture is that it is going to be painful for the person receiving the treatment. This misconception comes from the expectation people have surrounding getting shots, IVs or tattoos. Those needles are up to 40x larger than the size of acupuncture needles! Acupuncture needles are like tiny, little cat whiskers that you can barely feel going in. Seriously, this is no big deal to 99% of people that receive acupuncture. 

2. Doesn't Work

The next misconception is that it doesn’t work and it’s not going to provide any benefit. My go-to response for this one is “how could it still be around 2000 years later if it didn’t work at all?” Of course, it doesn’t solve everyone’s problem and the range of improvement differs from person to person, but I have seen acupuncture provide life changing results to thousands of patients! There are certainly issues that is works better for (i.e. pain, fertility, headaches, stress, etc.) but not trying it because you don’t understand it, will guarantee that you don’t get any results.

3. It's Voodoo or Sacreligious

Every once in a while, I’ll get asked if acupuncture goes against their religion or if it has negative connotations, similar to Voodoo. The answer is a resounding, NO! Acupuncture came about by observing how nature is reflected in the mind and body. The ultimate goal with acupuncture is always to increase your connection to your body, your environment and your overall sense of wellbeing.  There is no magic or voodoo of any type involved. In fact, in my practice, I don’t talk about acupuncture in terms that are hard to understand. We focus on your complaints and how we can help resolve them, plain and simple.

4. Not Well Trained

Another misconception is that any medical provider can perform acupuncture without having much training. This one is very far from the truth. A licensed acupuncturist did roughly 3000 hours of training in order to obtain either a Master’s or Doctoral Degree. This averages out to 3-4 years of post-bachelor’s education, making any licensed acupuncturist highly trained in this field. Often times, you’ll see a chiropractor, physical therapist or MD also performing acupuncture, which the majority of time, is a fraction of the training that a licensed acupuncturist has. I highly recommend always asking if they are licensed to do acupuncture or are they just “certified” to do it. Big difference.

5. Only For Pain

Acupuncture certainly works great for pain (i.e. arthritis, joint pain, back pain, etc.) but that is just the tip of the iceberg. You can use acupuncture to help with hormone issues, depression/anxiety, digestive problems, insomnia, stress and the list goes on. Quite often someone comes into our clinic for a pain problem and then realizes all the other benefits and continues to use acupuncture as part of their health and wellness routine.

If any of these misconceptions have crossed your mind as a reason not to get acupuncture, I suggest you find a qualified acupuncturist to discuss your concerns with. You might come to find out that a life without acupuncture is not nearly as fulfilling as a life with a few more needles in it.

If you are considering our Eden Prairie clinic for care, read more about our specialties here. If you are not in the local area, check here to find a qualified practitioner near you.

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