The Top FAQs About Acupuncture

Many people have heard about acupuncture but are cautious to try it for the first time because of some of the following unanswered FAQs. 

1. I tried it once. Why didn’t it work?

In China, patients go for acupuncture every day for what ails them. But in the US, you will often hear “I tried acupuncture once for back pain I had for 20 years and it didn’t work”. There seems to be the concept that if acupuncture doesn’t work after one treatment, then it doesn’t work. It is true that some people see quick, dramatic changes especially if it is an acute problem, such as a stiff neck from sleeping poorly the night before. Others experience more gradual, subtle effects, especially those that have a chronic condition, an autoimmune condition, or chronic pain that you have suffered from for 20 years or longer. How can it be a realistic expectation that one acupuncture session or one anything will resolve this? If you take conventional medical treatment for the same problem, one tablet is not likely to resolve it either, and neither is one surgery. Acupuncture has been helping people for thousands of years around the world, it would not be so popular if it wasn’t working. Occasionally, people find that acupuncture doesn’t help them. In those cases, as a primary care provider, I will work to find a referral to another type of health care provider. Your health and wellness are our ultimate priority.

2. Ouch!  I am afraid of needles. Is it going to hurt?  

No, not really. Acupuncture needles are about the size of a hair on your head. They are super thin. It is a pity they are called needles because the word is often associated with having blood drawn or vaccinations with a hypodermic needle. That needle has a hole so that liquid can pass into the body. In fact, approximately 30-40 needles can fit into the opening of a traditional medical syringe! Acupuncture needles have no such hole, which is why they can be so fine. You may feel a very brief prick or mosquito bite sensation when the needle first goes in but this eases almost immediately. You will feel slight discomfort but this doesn’t mean that you won’t have any sensation. While the needles are left in, some people feel a radiating sensation around the needle or a heavy feeling at the point. These are good signs. Some acupuncture therapies don’t even use needles but still treat acupuncture points. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing and some even fall asleep during treatment. Dr. Corbin chooses to use some of the most expensive needles at her Miami acupuncture clinic. A higher-quality needle will significantly reduce the discomfort you experience. Most patients note that they can hardly feel the needle.

The day after your visit to our Miami acupuncture clinic is similar to the day after a deep tissue massage. You’ll likely feel a little sore and perhaps even a worsening of your condition. Don’t worry. This exacerbation is temporary and should only last 24-48 hours. After that, you’ll likely start feeling an improvement in your condition.

Should you want to avoid needles completely, your Healing Elephant Physician can use magnets and other techniques to stimulate acupuncture points. Don’t let fear of needles deter you from acupuncture, as there are so many non-needle options available. 

3. Will acupuncture conflict with my medication, chiropractic, physical therapy, and other ‘mainstream’ conventional medical treatments 

There is no conflict between acupuncture and conventional medicine; they complement and often enhance the results of each other. For example, chiropractic adjustments may last longer when paired with acupuncture. If you’re unsure, talk with an acupuncturist and your other health care providers about a coordinated treatment plan. We are happy to send your medical provider a progress report on your acupuncture care.

4: Why do I need acupuncture if I don’t have pain?

Acupuncture is an effective treatment to reduce pain but also reduces many other complaints.  Because acupuncture affects so many of our bodies’ systems, acupuncture can be used to improve nausea/vomiting, chemotherapy side effects, morning sickness, allergic rhinitis, hot flashes, menstrual cramps, postoperative nausea, chemotherapy-induced nausea, urinary incontinence, hypertension (high blood pressure), allergies, depression, infertility, and many other conditions. The list goes on. Visit the World Health Organization (WHO) for a current list of valid treatment options.

5. Is Acupuncture is new-age voodoo medicine?

Acupuncture is a treatment option that many medical institutions recommend including:

  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Mayo Clinic
  • All Canyon Ranch properties
  • National Cancer Institute
  • United States military uses acupuncture on the battlefield for wounded soldiers
  • United States military uses acupuncture at Veterans Clinics
  • Drug Rehab facilities around the country
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds many clinical research trials on acupuncture.
  • Both the NIH and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize acupuncture as a valid treatment for a wide range of conditions.

6. Are acupuncture’s effects purely a placebo? Do you need to believe in it for it to work?

It is hard to deny that acupuncture has beneficial effects on the nervous, musculoskeletal and other systems ignoring as many scientific studies and systematic reviews are accruing in acupuncture’s favor. Studies show that during acupuncture, our brains begin to release chemicals such as endorphins (natural painkillers) Acupuncture also has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps people’s immune systems. The best way to see that acupuncture is not a placebo is to see the effect it has on children and animals. They have no idea what is happening but get great benefits. 

7. Are there side effects or risks to acupuncture?

There are very few adverse effects if performed by a trained and licensed acupuncturist. Occasionally, someone may experience:

  • pain at the injection site
  • bruising
  • bleeding
  • temporary fatigue after treatment

Do you have more questions? We are happy to answer any questions during your initial consultation. Contact us to book an appointment today.