Myth: Acupuncture is dangerous and also painful.
Fact: There is no pain. The individual may feel a tiny prick upon insertion of the needle. Sometimes the individual does not feel the needle at all. In some very rare instances there can be a little bruising at the point of insertion. There is no tissue damage as a result of insertion generally as the needles used in acupuncture are very hair like and they have a rounded point and are solid. Unlike in the hypodermic needle the acupuncture needle does not have a cutting edge. There is no actual danger as doctors use single use disposable needles.
Myth: Acupuncture needles can transfer diseases like AIDS and hepatitis from individual to individual.
Fact: Generally individuals are given their own set of needles. In the United States the use of disposable single use needles is a standard practice. Therefore there is no risk of these diseases being transmitted.
Myth : Acupuncture is only good for treating pain.
Fact: It is true that pain responds very well to acupuncture. Low back pain, sciatica, neck pain, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches and other kinds of pain may all be treated successfully with acupuncture. But because the aim of acupuncture is to bring balance and harmony to the whole person, it can also be an excellent treatment for insomnia, fatigue, digestive problems, menopause, menstrual disorders, infertility, MS, Lupus, and a supportive treatment for patients with cancer, Hepatitis or HIV.
Myth: Only Chinese or Asians can practice acupuncture because it is of Chinese origin.
Fact: This is not so. The ability to learn and practice anything does not depend upon you racial background. In the United States alone most of the acupuncture practitioners are not Asian.
Myth: Allopathic physicians (medical doctors whose treatment are counteractive methods for injury and disease) do not endorse acupuncture neither do they believe in it.
Fact: This was perhaps true about 25 years ago. Today there are at least 3,000 acupuncture certified physicians.
Myth: In acupuncture the four-needle technique is used on every patient for sedation.
Fact: TThis technique is used in very rare and extreme instances only. This technique is generally not used more than twice in one year. Sometimes the energy of a patient virtually gets stuck; it is then that the four-needle technique is used as a last resort.
Myth: It is best if a physician (MD) performs acupuncture.
Fact: Physicians have a very limited training in acupuncture. To be a member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture they only need 200 hours of training. Of these 200 hours clinical training is only about 80 hours, which is the requirement. When you consider licensed acupuncturists they have several years of training. Therefore it is best if you go for treatment to a licensed acupuncturist who has more experience.
Myth: Acupuncture is not widely used nor is it officially recognized in the United States. It is widely used only in third world countries.
Fact:This is not so as over 30 states in America officially recognize or register the practice of acupuncturists. Of these 30 states 22 register, certify or license acupuncturists for their own practice.
Myth: The need for acupuncture does not exist today.
Fact:Acupuncture is widely used today. It often prevents the use of cortisone, painkillers and surgery. Studies have shown that about 61% of patients who were treated with acupuncture after being paralyzed as a result of a stroke showed great improvement.
Myth : Acupuncture only works if you believe in it.
Fact:While keeping a positive attitude will probably help you get well, how and why acupuncture works is not so simple. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), studies have shown that acupuncture seems to affect the body’s immune reactions, blood pressure regulation, blood flow and temperature, and may aid the activity of endorphins (the body’s own painkilling chemicals) and immune cells "at specific sites in the body". While most clinical studies on acupuncture do note that even "sham acupuncture" (in which a needle is not inserted or not inserted into a non-acupuncture point) seems to have a small therapeutic effect on the body, study participants who receive "real" acupuncture treatment consistently do better than those in the control group or those receiving conventional treatment.
Myth : Acupuncturists aren’t licensed medical professionals.
Fact:This may have been true 35 years ago when acupuncture first became available in the U.S., but today acupuncture is a licensed, regulated profession. A Google search of "acupuncture in hospitals" reveals acupuncturists on staff at a number of hospitals across the country. To be licensed in most states, acupuncturists must complete a 3 to 4-year graduate program in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and pass a series of national certification exams. Like other professionals, to maintain our licensure, we must add to our knowledge with continuing education, maintain national board certification and adhere to a strict code of medical ethics.
Myth: My insurance won’t cover acupuncture, so I can’t afford to try it.
Fact:Don’t be so sure about that! Where I practice, there has been a sudden increase in coverage for acupuncture treatment and there is currently a bill in congress (HR646) that would allow acupuncture to be covered by Medicare. Many acupuncturists offer discounts for seniors, students or for multiple treatments purchased at once.