There are many misconceptions circling about acupuncture that deter some people from trying it. People do not take the time to find out the facts about the procedure and end up missing out on many of the benefits they could be enjoying. The following guide debunks some of the common myths that people perpetuate about acupuncture.

Proper Training Is Only Done in the Far East

People make the misconception of thinking that acupuncture training is only offered in the Far East and that anyone who has not been there has not been given proper training.

Demand for acupuncture is growing rapidly in the United States, and demand for quality training programs is growing right along with it. At AIAM School of Acupuncture, we offer a Master’s Degree Program in Acupuncture that is one of only a handful of programs available in the Midwest, and one of the most respected programs in the country.

Acupuncture Is Painful

Because acupuncture involves needles, many people view it as being very painful. It is not because the needles are so tiny, and they are strategically placed to relieve pain, not cause it.

Each needle is placed in a specific spot on the body based on what the acupuncture is treating. Many people go to an acupuncturist to treat a specific illness or pain that they are experiencing.

Acupuncture Causes Permanent Scarring

There are some people who assume that the needles used during acupuncture will cause permanent scarring on their body. The points of the needles are so fine that they do not leave marks when they are removed.

There are times when minor bleeding will occur, but the hole will close quickly, and the bleeding will be minimal.

Acupuncture Only Benefits Those in Physical Pain

A common myth involving acupuncture is that it only alleviates physical pain, but that is not true. Acupuncture can help treat migraines, allergies, nausea, joint pain, and even insomnia. Acupuncture has many benefits and can provide long-term relief for many of these conditions.

Acupuncture has also been used for many years to help with weight loss. Many people go through multiple treatments to help decrease their appetite, which ultimately leads to them losing weight.

The acupuncture does not cause the appetite to diminish forever though. You will need to go back to the acupuncturist on a regular basis to keep the decrease in appetite.

You Need to Get Acupuncture on an Empty Stomach

People commonly assume that you should go to an acupuncture appointment on an empty stomach. They are worried that it will make them feel nauseous if they go to the procedure after eating.

While you should not go to the appointment completely stuffed because you’ll feel uncomfortable, but you should not go when your stomach is empty either. It could lead to you feeling lightheaded and woozy when you get up.

Acupuncturists Don’t Need to Know Anything About You

Some people think that they can go to an acupuncturist and get treated right away. They will actually sit down with you and find out about what is going on in your life. They will ask about your family history to see if there are any factors that may be affecting your health and to make sure that you are a good candidate for acupuncture.

If you are not a good candidate, the acupuncturist will let you know why it is not a good choice for you and give you suggestions on what a better option may be.

Acupuncture Only Provides Instant Relief

Some people assume that the acupuncture will only help them while the needles are in place. Acupuncture is designed to relieve tension in the body and provide an overall peace and wellbeing. This feeling does not go away the second the needles are removed from your body.

Many of the benefits of acupuncture are not noticed for a day or two after the procedure is complete. Many people notice a relief from allergies, migraines, and sinus pressure a few days after an acupuncture appointment to treat those specific symptoms.

Acupuncture Is Only Safe for Certain People

Myths are spread that state that acupuncture is only safe for young adults or people who are in great physical condition. That is not the case.

Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial for the young and the old, the healthy and the sick, pregnant, and nonpregnant women. Anyone can benefit from acupuncture regardless of their size, sex, race, or current physical health.

If you feel that acupuncture may be a good option for you, make an appointment with an acupuncturist to discuss your specific situation. He or she will be able to suggest what type of acupuncture will be right for your situation. You may need to go for a few treatments before you notice all of the benefits of acupuncture, but once you do, you will more than likely want to keep going to get treatments again and again.

Tips for Your First Acupuncture Appointment

Before you head to your first acupuncture session, it’s essential to understand what the process entails. The session typically begins with a thorough initial consultation where the practitioner learns about your medical history and current health concerns. 

This is followed by a physical assessment, often including pulse checking and tongue examination, which are traditional diagnostic methods in acupuncture. After this assessment, the acupuncturist will develop a personalized treatment plan. 

The actual treatment involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. This part is generally not painful, with many patients reporting only a slight sensation or nothing at all. During the treatment, you’ll have a relaxation phase, where you’re encouraged to rest and let the acupuncture work its magic. 

Preparing for the session

Preparation for your acupuncture appointment can significantly enhance the experience. It’s recommended to eat a light meal a few hours before your session to avoid any discomfort. Dressing in loose, comfortable clothing is also advisable as it allows easy access to acupuncture points and ensures you’re comfortable during the session. Being well-prepared also means arriving with an open mind, ready to discuss your health concerns openly with your practitioner.

Post-treatment care

After your acupuncture session, it’s important to take care of yourself to maximize the benefits of the treatment. Drinking plenty of water is essential as it helps to flush out any toxins released during the session. Avoiding strenuous activities and giving your body time to rest and recover is also recommended. Some people might experience minor side effects like soreness or bruising at the needle sites, but these are typically short-lived and not a cause for concern.

Safety and selecting the right practitioner

When it comes to acupuncture, safety is paramount. This starts with choosing a qualified and experienced acupuncturist. Look for practitioners who are licensed and have certifications from recognized acupuncture institutions. Checking their experience, especially in treating conditions similar to yours, is also crucial. You can seek referrals from healthcare professionals or read reviews from previous patients to get an idea of their expertise and approach. During your initial consultation, don’t hesitate to ask questions about their experience, treatment style, and what you can expect from the sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does each acupuncture session last?

The duration depends on the individual’s condition and the acupuncturist’s treatment plan, but typically, the first appointment may last between 60 and 90 minutes, which includes the initial consultation. Follow-up sessions usually last about 30 to 60 minutes. 

Can acupuncture help with stress and anxiety?

Yes, acupuncture is often used to help alleviate stress and anxiety. It’s believed to work by stimulating the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals, which can also have a calming effect and help to balance the body’s energy, potentially reducing stress and improving emotional well-being.

Is acupuncture covered by health insurance?

Coverage for acupuncture varies depending on your health insurance plan and where you live. Some insurance plans do cover acupuncture, while others may not. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage details. Additionally, some practitioners offer sliding scale fees based on income.

Are there any conditions or situations where acupuncture should be avoided?

While acupuncture is generally safe, there are certain conditions where caution or avoidance is advised. These include instances of bleeding disorders or if a patient is taking blood thinners, infections at the needle sites, or certain skin conditions. Pregnant women should also inform their acupuncturist, as some acupuncture points can stimulate labor.

How often should I get acupuncture treatments?

The frequency of acupuncture treatments varies depending on the individual’s specific condition and response to the therapy. Some may experience relief after a single session, while others might need multiple sessions over weeks or months. Initially, an acupuncturist may recommend one or two sessions per week, adjusting the frequency based on how you respond to the treatment.

American Institute of Alternative Medicine Acupuncture Clinic

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