Most people that we see in our clinic are quite comfortable with acupuncture, but we know there are more of you out there who would benefit from acupuncture if we could answer some of the most common reasons we hear for avoiding it. So here goes…
1. I don’t like needles
At one extreme, perhaps you just don’t like the idea of having needles in you, and you’re concerned it’ll either hurt or just be darn uncomfortable. I can understand that concern – I felt the same the first time we went for acupuncture.
I reckon the biggest cause of this fear is people’s experience with having blood taken in hospitals. But I have to tell you that the needles we use are much much thinner than hypodermic needles; in fact, many are thinner than a human hair, and are not hollow like a hypodermic.
We also have many special techniques at our disposal, developed over the two-thousand year history of acupuncture, to reduce the sensation that ou will feel. Japanese acupuncturists have made an art of this, and we can use these ultra-gentle Japanese techniques if you are concerned.
Some people, of course, do have a genuine and severe phobia of needles. Don’t despair, we can still bring you some of the benefits of acupuncture by using related techniques like acupressure, cupping and moxibustion, which use no needles at all.
2. I don’t believe acupuncture works
This is a really interesting question, and one I’d like to write reams about. But, you’re busy people, so I’ll keep it short. Firstly, there are a large number of clinical trials that have shown acupuncture to be effective in many conditions. This is widely accepted in the scientific community. For example, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advise the NHS which treatments should be used for which conditions, now recommend acupuncture for some conditions based on the evidence available.
The biggest problem is that much of the research conducted on acupuncture is very poorly designed. Most clinical research relies on the idea that the effectiveness of a treatment can be worked out by comparing to the effectiveness of no treatment (or a placebo). That’s fine if you’re testing drugs where a standardised dose can be compared to the effect of a sugar pill, but there is no such thing as a standard acupuncture treatment. The points I use depend not just on my diagnosis (say, of ‘anxiety’), but also your sex, age, physical make-up, health history, the emotional state you are in at the moment of treatment, etc.
3. I don’t know where to go
Well, obviously I’d like you to come and see me, but I want to be a little more helpful than that. Some things that you should think through before seeing an acupuncturist are:
- Are they registered with the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC)? BAcC is the leading self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture in the UK. They guarantee that all members will have a minimum of an Honours Degree in acupuncture, and will have agreed to certain professional and ethical standards. With over 3,000 members, you wont be short of choice. The BAcC website allows you to search for an acupuncturist by postcode.
- Do they have experience treating my condition? Before choosing an acupuncturist, you should phone a few up and find out if they know what their talking about. You need to trust their competence and be comfortable with their manner. You can me on 0845 676 9699 if you want to test me out 🙂
4. I don’t have time
Well, modern life is pretty intense, and we all have a million commitments to keep. But your health is one area of your life that is really worth prioritising. Think through what you’d be able to do if your health problem was resolved…
I know that coming for an acupuncture session take more time than popping a pill, but if those pills worked for everyone, I would happily hang up my needles and do something else with my time.
You might be concerned that you don’t have the time to wait for the benefits of acupuncture to happen. It is true that acupuncture is not always a quick fix – but quite often it is. Generally, the longer you have had a problem, the longer it may take to resolve. Because we are prompting the body to heal itself through acupuncture, chronic illness tends to take longer to resolve. That’s life, I’m afraid.
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