Many think of acupuncture as a mystical healing practice meant only for those who are older or who have exhausted other avenues of treatment for serious illnesses.
Acupuncture is, in fact, a great method of keeping the mind and body balanced while also preventing disease.
The peripheral nervous system is a network of nerve pairs that connect the brain and spinal cord. When acupuncture needles are placed on the body, the peripheral nerve sends a message from the needle’s origin to the brain. As the brain directs endorphins to “heal” what it perceives as a slight injury, relaxation sets in to refresh the body from the inside out.
Still curious about other acupuncture myths floating around? Here’s acupuncturist Forooz Ardalan, Ph.D., L.Ac. from Atlas Health Care Center with more on the subject:
Myth #1: Acupuncture has to be done with lots of long needles.
Forooz: The amount of needles used varies between eight to 20. On average, the length of needle is proportional to the size and area of the body. Facial treatment is ½ needle and is only inserted about 1 to 2mm. Needles are 38 gauge, which is as thick as hair. Needles are designed proportionally according to different body parts. For example, if you have a patient with arthritic pain of index finger compared with another patient with hip pain, you’ll have different depths of body tissue.
Myth #2: The needles have to go all over my back!
Forooz: Many treatments don’t involve any needles in the back. We have distal treatment and local treatment. For example, many patients only get frontal treatment for anxiety and many fall asleep during treatment. All points are external. Different meridians (energetic pathways) correspond with different ailments. For the release of stress we use meridian of the heart and the heart chakra’h corresponding points — also the kidney meridian and some grounding points.
Myth #3: I’ll definitely feel the needles when they’re placed and it will hurt.
Forooz: Most people never feel the insertion of needles. Good quality disposables are the only ones we use, and the higher quality of medical supplies guarantee more comfort for our patients.
Myth #4: Acupuncture is a last resort for people with really bad physical conditions.
Forooz: Unfortunately, many patients come to us as a last resort after they try everything else. I feel privileged to help them feel better but I also wish they would come to me first so I can help them heal faster. Traditional [acupuncture] medicine is designed to prevent disease and improve health.
Acupuncture works on the physical, emotional and spiritual body, therefore it’s very personal and always discussed thoroughly with patients.
Myth #5: The acupuncturist won’t be very personal and will place needles without telling me why.
Forooz: Acupuncture treatments are designed per a patient’s need and no two patients receive the same treatment unless they have identical pain and discomfort. Acupuncture works on the physical, emotional and spiritual body, therefore it’s very personal and always discussed thoroughly with patients.
Myth #6: There isn’t research to support that acupuncture really works.
Forooz: There is research that proves acupuncture works as pain management, and the release of endorphins relaxes the mind. Acupuncture and cupping also improve blood circulation, hence improving energy. (For more specific information about the research done with acupuncture, check out acupunctureresearch.org)
Myth #7: Acupuncture is expensive and my insurance won’t cover it.
Forooz: Most PPO insurance plans in California cover all or parts of acupuncture cost, and if they don’t acupuncture expense is usually less than most other medications. On average a full hour session is about $80.00.
Are you a believer in acupuncture? Why or why not?
Image via Morgan Ashley Photography