Acupuncture is not Painful pt. 2

When a person is not familiar with something, whether a concept or a technique or anything else, the mind naturally tries to fill in the gaps and make sense out of things on its own. This can be a helpful tendency but it can also lead to a lot of misconceptions and incorrect assumptions. Many people in Oklahoma have no experience with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and yet so many people have this feeling that Acupuncture is going to be a painful and uncomfortable experience. There are two main reasons for this dramatic misconception- One reason is that Acupuncture uses “needles” and although these needles are greatly different than a syringe or a tattoo needle (both of which tend to be quite painful) its still labeled with the word “needle” and thus provokes fear and the anticipation of pain. The other reason people tend to have an expectation of discomfort from Acupuncture is due to the way Acupuncture is portrayed by Hollywood.

Some modern Acupuncturists no longer like to use the word needle when discussing the tools used in Oriental Medicine. This is simply do to the image that appears in most people’s minds when they hear the word needle. One word that is taking the place of needle is the word “Filament”. An Acupuncture needle or filament is a tiny, hair-thin, solid metal object. When people think of needles, they almost always think of medical syringes. Medical syringes are so much thicker than acupuncture needles, and up to 20 Acupuncture needles could be placed inside the tip of a common medical syringe. That’s how tiny an Acupuncture needle really is! Also, much of the reason syringes tend to be painful is because it is hollow. When we receive an injection or “shot” from a medical syringe, the skin is actually pushed back out of the needle hole before the medicine is injected and this can be quite painful. But since Acupuncture needles are solid, they slide gently and painlessly into the skin without discomfort or resistance. Many people imagine that each insertion of an Acupuncture needle is an uncomfortable experience, but in reality most of the insertions are never felt at all. I have many patients who use their Acupuncture session as an opportunity to rest and even take a much needed nap. Once experienced, patients become so comfortable with Acupuncture that they are able to deeply relax their minds and truly enjoy their treatments.

In the final installment on this subject, we will discuss the various ways Acupuncture has been portrayed by Hollywood and the negative impact it has on the psyche of someone who has never experienced the actual practice of Acupuncture.

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