More acupuncture myth-busting

As popular as acupuncture is, some people still regard it with misapprehension. Let’s debunk some common myths surrounding this centuries-old treatment.

Myth #1: Acupuncture is only for pain – While needling can provide relief for virtually every kind of pain, to suggest that its only function is pain-relief is wrong. Acupuncture has been shown to help with a wide variety of chronic health conditions, such as insomnia, anxiety, allergies, asthma and reproductive and digestive issues. It’s also been proven effective for acute conditions like colds, flues, headaches and injuries.

Myth # 2: It’s a needle; it must hurt – The actual insertion of the whisker-thin needles is virtually painless. As the acupuncturist brings the needle to the appropriate depth, a patient may feel slight tingling or a heavy or warm sensation. There is no pain as the needle is removed, though certain acupuncture points may briefly exhibit a residual feeling, as if something is there even though the needle is gone. Rarely, there may be some discomfort after treatment, with muscles sometimes feeling a bit bruised or as though they’ve just had a heavy workout.

Myth #3: Acupuncture doesn’t work. I did it once and nothing happened – You wouldn’t say that about joining a fitness club. Like exercise, acupuncture is cumulative. If you’ve had a sore back for six months, it will likely take a few visits before you notice a big change. That said, many people do notice a difference after only one or two visits, with most seeing significant improvement after six to 10. Your acupuncturist will discuss your particular treatment schedule with you after your assessment and first treatment. Regardless of your specific health condition, acupuncture is a safe, effective, drug-free therapy.

Dr. Brigitte Tetrault is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Call 250-338-2866 or e-mail

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