When I introduce myself as an acupuncturist to other people, they usually ask me what acupuncture is. My answer to this question is: I insert thin sterile needles into the specific acu-points along the meridian on your body. This promotes vital energy to clear blockages you may have which then improves your health. Some listeners, including those who have tattoos on their arms, will react with a horrified expression that implies “Oh no, not needles!” I think people who react in this way are associating needles with the syringe needles used to withdraw blood. When I explain that the needles are less than 1/100 of syringe needles in size, the next question that pops up most is, “Will I feel pain?” Most of the time, you may not even know when I have inserted the needles. The feeling of inserting the needles on your hands and feet may feel like a tiny bee sting at most, because you have less flesh there which causes them to be more sensitive areas.
Many people who come for acupuncture treatment may be using it as a last resort. Although acupuncture has been used for up to 5,000 years to treat disease, many still do not know how incredibly powerful it is. They may not know how needles actually can help them heal the body and improve health conditions. As practitioners, we are like “detectives” who get clues from your gait, pulse quality, tongue color and coating. Sometimes even the smell your body exudes can help us figure out what is happening. Is this weird? No! These aspects of a person’s body show a lot of information that may be easily overlooked. Reading these signals can help you better understand your body and the symptoms you may be experiencing. When the practitioner finds out where and why your body is out of balance, needles become the tools that are used to guide the vital energy to clear the blockage and to recall your own ability to heal your own body. Thus, allowing your body to return to its balanced state.
Usually the patient then asks, “How long will it take for me to get better and how many sessions will I need?” Well, don’t expect your body to heal itself by one magic click. (Although in some situations, this may be the case.) Usually, the longer you’ve been suffering with your symptoms, the more sessions you will need for treatment and the longer time it will take for your body to heal. These were a few of the most frequently asked questions and concerns patients have before they come for visits. I truly hope my answers can help erase some of the needle phobia that may hold people back from receiving acupuncture treatment, as so many can greatly benefit from it. Next time, we will post what patients normally ask during their visits. Stay tuned!