Poking Holes in Two Big Acupuncture Myths

By: StacyAtZeel

If the thought of getting stuck with needles on purpose makes you run for the hills, then this post is for you.

Acupuncture is an ancient form of holistic medicine that can positively impact your body and mind. While the (tiny and ultra-thin) needles may, in some cases, be mildly prickly, most acupuncture devotees find the sessions to be soothing, so much so that falling asleep isn't at all uncommon.

Nap time, you say? Now that we have your attention, check out the two biggest misconceptions surrounding acupuncture. Maybe you'll change your attitude about this invigorating, healthful treatment.

1. Acupuncture is all in your head.

Think it's all talk? Tell that to the medical practitioners who supplement traditional Western treatments with this alternative form of medicine for patients suffering from acute pain, infertility and even cancer.

One of the largest studies of acupuncture found that patients with chronic headaches experienced almost a 50 percent decrease in the occurrence of their condition after receiving acupuncture treatments. Those who did not receive treatment found no relief. Another study determined that acupuncture relieved short and long-term lower back pain.

Evidence also confirms that acupuncture has significant benefits for addressing infertility in women trying to conceive. Licensed acupuncturist and Zeel Expert Adam Graves explains that, "Acupuncture works in infertility by lowering stress hormones (cortisol), increasing blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, balancing sex hormones (progesterone, estrogen) and supporting ovulation."

Renowned New York City acupuncturist Meg Richichi has designed a program called "Mother's Path" for this very reason, helping women overcome the challenges of infertility.

2. Acupuncture is painful.

Sure, the notion of needles being inserted under your skin may seem painful. And yes, it looks painful. Yet acupuncture is generally a very gentle process.

Acupuncture needles are much finer than the needles typically used in blood tests and tetanus shots. The needles are also solid, unlike hollow medical needles, meaning they fit snugly into your skin without piercing it.

Ultimately, a certified practitioner should be able to perform acupuncture with little to no discomfort, save for a slight tingling or numbing sensation at the point of entry. Don't be alarmed; that's just your qi (the esoteric energy that, according to acupuncturists, flows through your body) moving from one meridian to another. Ah, we feel better already.