Is a fear of needles stopping you from getting Acupuncture?

I hear ALL the time “I want to try acupuncture, but I don’t like needles.”.

When most people thing of a needles they think of being in a hospital lab, getting blood drawn. Well, good news for you, the only similarity between acupuncture needles and hypodermic needles are that they both puncture the dermis (skin). Other than that there aren’t really many similarities between acupuncture needles and the needles you dread.

1. They are not the needles you imagine

Something as simple as substituting the word ‘needle’ for ‘pin’ or ‘puncture’ for ‘place’ might help you adjust to the idea of acupuncture a bit easier. Usually, when people imagine a needle we thing of getting our blood drawn in the hospital. That memory can be accompanied by remembering the smell of the hospital, the pain you experienced, the reason you were even there. So by simply changing how you view the acupuncture instrument might help you feel more comfortable with an actual treatment.

“Needle apprehension is very common and natural, considering that we have been conditioned to associate needles with pain—think dentists, blood draws, and IVs,” says acupuncturist Kathryn Peak. “But acupuncture needles are hair-thin and nothing like the needles we are accustomed to in a medical setting.

2. No, it is nothing like the Final Destination acupuncture scene. Literally nothing like it at all.

3. You’re always in control

If at any point in time during your treatment you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable with the needles, that is totally fine. It is your treatment and the best thing you can do is let me know! Usually, if I know a patient is uncomfortable with the idea of needles, I will start with only a few and check in and see how you are doing. If you are okay, I may put a few more in. There is no rush to the treatment and your comfort is my first priority.

4. Kids do it

I had been getting acupuncture weekly since I was 12, so I actually didn’t even realize that people didn’t like needles until I started treating people – kind of ridiculous right? But anyway, kids get acupuncture all the time! I regularly treat kids from ages 10-17 and all of them handle the needles extremely well. Kids don’t pretend to like something, if a they don’t like a needle they will say or flinch. I had a patient tell me that her daughter (who is about 12) was upset that she was going for a treatment instead of her!

5. It doesn’t hurt.

I get asked all the time “..but doesn’t it hurt…?”. No, in general acupuncture should not be painful. If it was, I would be out of business! You can feel some sensations with acupuncture, and that is awesome. But it should never be painful.

6. It’s not all about the needles.

Yes, I am a Registered Acupuncturist so my main focus is acupuncture. But that doesn’t mean that that is the only modality available to you. Part of my training includes other Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities such as cupping, moxibustion, and guasha. I also focus on lifestyle balance and proper diet as well as Running Bars for energy work. So if you have been intrigued by acupuncture but not quite ready to commit to it, you can come in for a cupping session to get used to the treatments and then we can add in acupuncture once you are ready.

“I was an acupuncture skeptic with a significant fear of needles prior to starting with Taylore. I have had problems with my calves for about 14 years. I also tore my ACL and had it replaced around that time. At this point, any sort of exercise, even just a walk, led to my calves being hard as rock. I have also had plantar fasciitis twice, the most recent being this summer and I couldn’t resolve it. Over the years I have sought help from physicians, physiotherapists, massage and physical trainers. Ultimately none made a difference with my calves or my foot. After constant pain in my foot for 4 months I decided to try acupuncture – big step for me.

Taylore was and is fantastic. She was very understanding and willing to respect my trepidation and move at my pace. We have made lots of progress, both with my comfort level – which I attribute entirely to Taylore’s ability to identify people’s needs and her calm and comforting nature, and with my pain. Since my first treatment I haven’t had a single bout of plantar fasciitis and I’m learning what regular muscles look like- they’re actually soft and malleable when at rest!! I definitelyrecommend a consultation with Taylore for any number of reasons or issues!!” -Kathryn