I'm Afraid of Needles
People who have received inoculations or medical injections from a
hypodermic needle may fear that acupuncture treatments will be as
painful. But, that is not the case:
Hypodermic needles are stiff, hollow and thick. They
force liquid into—or
draw blood out of a person’s veins.
Acupuncture needles are very fine and flexible. They are not
inserted into veins, and there is usually no bleeding involved in an
Chinese needles are as thin as a hairbrush bristle. In Chinese
style acupuncture, the acupuncturist manipulates the needles to produce
a deqi sensation—a feeling of numbness, tingling, heaviness
or distention at the area of needle insertion. Chinese acupuncturists
believe obtaining the deqi sensation is necessary to produce
acupuncture’s benefits. In my experience, obtaining the deqi sensation
is useful for treating certain musculoskeletal conditions, and for
unblocking stagnant qi and blood.
Japanese needles are even thinner than Chinese needles--as
fine as a human hair. Japanese acupuncturists do not consider the deqi sensation
to be of importance. In Japanese-style acupuncture, the needles are
gently tapped in just below the skin and are not manipulated. This
style of acupuncture produces no sensation, or just a tickle,
which is an advantage when treating children and other highly sensitive
Whether or not a deqi sensation is produced
during the needle insertion, after a moment or two with the needles in
place, biochemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins are released from
the brain and nervous system. These natural proteins are the body’s
own morphine, which when released inhibit pain and produce feelings
of euphoria and deep relaxation. After resting for a few minutes with
the needles in place, it is not unusual for my patients to drift in
and out of a pleasant dream-like state. After the acupuncture treatment,
the patient will generally feel rested and refreshed. Occasionally
a patient will feel a bit sleepy after an acupuncture treatment. This
effect wears off in an hour or two.
For people who are truly terrified of needles, I offer many
non-needle treatment options:
Acupressure , shiatsu, tuina, sotai, electronic
stimulation of acupoints, magnet therapy, auriculotherapy with magnetic
pressballs, reflexology, cupping, guasha and moxabustion.
all highly effective methods that are used to unblock and regulate
the flow of qi and blood and promote healing.
I use only sterile, disposable acupuncture needles in my practice.
(Click on image for larger view)