...and a fear of needles is commonly mentioned as the reason for not trying acupuncture. However, if you look at the picture, acupuncture needles are incredibly fine - most people's experience of needles is when they get a blood test or immunisation, however the needles used by the medical profession for these activities are much thicker than those used for acupuncture. Needless to say, when you compare the size, it's not hard to see why they are painful!
So does Acupuncture hurt? This is one of the most common questions I get asked. Everyone's experience of acupuncture can be slightly different. It can be uncomfortable when needles are inserted (but by no means always), but once in, most people are no longer even aware of the fact that they have needles in them. Take the following information into account:
The smallest needle is 0.16mm wide. This is a very flexible, almost hair-thin needle.
Acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow.
Nothing is being injected and there is nothing coming out of the needle.
Acupuncture needles are placed over muscle tissue, not blood vessels.
They are smaller, sharper and less invasive.
Acupuncture works with the body's natural processes - it stimulates the release of endorphins and dopamine (the feel-good chemicals your body produces) so you feel relaxed and calm. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system - your "rest and digest" state. Acupuncturists are highly trained and we spend our entire working time inserting needles - so we aim for it to be as pleasant an experience as possible. We want our clients to be relaxed and at ease as this will help their treatment to be the most effective possible. We also usually use guide tubes - thin plastic tubes used to align the needle - and this helps get the needles in quickly and with minimal discomfort.
Remember also that, ultimately, acupuncturists became acupuncturists in order to help people get back their health and maintain their health.
Anticipation, I know from experience, is definitely my worst enemy! The more I think about something while waiting for it to happen, the more stressed I become. This all disappears the moment I can simply 'get on with it'! So, do yourself and your health a favour - stop giving yourself an excuse to avoid it and see an acupuncturist sooner rather than later.