Would you like a treatment that may help reduce stress, enhance sleep quality, improve digestion, and boost your immune system? Sounds great right? But what if I am afraid of needles? Acupuncture may come with many benefits, but some people dread the thought of needles piercing their bodies.
You might be anxious and reluctant, especially when you see needles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean acupuncture is not for you.
Are acupuncture needles comparable to hypodermic needles
Whether you have a full-blown phobia or a moderate fear of needles, experts can attest that acupuncture is a safe and painless supplemental therapy. In fact, acupuncture needles are nothing like hypodermic needles because the needles used in hospitals are designed to inject or extract substances from or into the body. Hospital needles are hollow with a larger circumference. Acupuncture needles are thinner, in fact one hypodermic needle is equivalent to 16 acupuncture needles, therefore acupuncture causes minimal to no discomfort.
How do you manage your fear of needles?
There are several ways you can address your fear of the needles, including:
- Understanding that fear is common
Everyone has something they fear, no matter what their age. So, the best way to ease your fear is to relax and read a book or take a leisurely walk before your treatment.
- Eat properly
Acupuncture treatments can be more effective if you eat at least two hours before your treatment. The meal should not be too heavy because it may cause discomfort during the treatment. However, going through an acupuncture treatment on an empty stomach may cause dizziness which is undesirable in combination with your existing anxiety.
- Refrain from drinking coffee
Caffeine may boost your body’s fight-or-flight response, and it may even make you anxious about your treatment. The main goal of acupuncture is to relax your body so natural healing energies can flow freely. Caffeine, on the other hand, can offset this, thus reducing the efficacy of the procedure.
- Tell your acupuncturist of medicines or supplements you are taking
Before you undergo acupuncture treatment, you must tell your acupuncturist all the medicines and supplements you are taking in case they counter the effects of the treatment. Also, one of the best ways to ease your fear is to trust your acupuncturist, and provide them all the information they need about your condition or the medications you take.
- Go to an experienced and licensed acupuncturist
In Australia, traditional acupuncturists and TCM practitioners in general are regulated, so you need to check the background and credentials of your potential acupuncturist. They must be licensed and qualified to administer this alternative treatment safely and effectively.
If you are afraid of needles, but want to try acupuncture, consider having a chat over the phone with an acupuncturist to get an idea if this therapy is right for you.