It will come as no surprise to you to learn that one of the most common reasons more people don’t consider acupuncture as a treatment for their health problem is their fear of needles.
It’s understandable, of course. For most of us, our first encounter with a needle comes when we’re vaccinated as children. Even though we probably don’t remember the experience now, that pain – physical and emotional – is probably still with us.
There’s a lot of baggage that comes with childhood injections. The embedded memory of the physical pain itself is the obvious one, but there are emotional scars, too – and these things combine to leave many of us with a natural fear of injections and needles. The medical name for this is aichmophobia.
As you might imagine, that’s not necessarily great news for acupuncturists who, traditionally, rely on putting needles into people’s skin in order to treat them for the health issues they have.
At this point, what I say is that the needles we use in acupuncture are specialist, superfine needles and that the treatment is painless. The sensation is completely different to the one you experience when having blood taken or receiving an injection. Many patients describe it as a tingling or heavy sensation.
In fact, while many aichmophobes might struggle to believe this, many patients find acupuncture to be extraordinarily relaxing and I’ve lost count of the number of people who have fallen asleep on the treatment table over the years (this, by the way, is one of the greatest compliments I could hope for!)
But phobias are phobias because they’re deeply entrenched in our psyche and people who are phobic are disinclined to be persuaded to a different point of view by someone who, like me, clearly has a vested interest in championing acupuncture as a treatment.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese alternative treatment that has been around for at least 2,000 years (which actually makes it one of the newer forms of ancient alternative medicine, since the use of herbal medicine in Ancient China can be traced back at least 6,000 years) and although the ancient traditions are very much a part of contemporary treatments, technology hasn’t exactly passed acupuncture by.
Which is good news if you happen to have a fear of needles, because among the things technology has given us is laser acupuncture, which is not invasive at all and is completely painless.
The lasers we use for laser acupuncture are low level or ‘cold’ lasers, not the ‘hot’ lasers that are used in surgery as ultra-precise scalpels to cut or burn skin.
The principles of laser acupuncture are the same as for conventional acupuncture – the laser still stimulates the area right at the site of the problem as well as the classical meridian-type acupoints to clear and rebalance the body’s natural energy pathways.
But because there is no penetration of the skin involved, it’s a perfect way for children and those with a fear of needles or with a high level of sensitivity to reap all the benefits of acupuncture without any of the fear they might otherwise experience.
Acupuncture is a highly effective way of treating a range of disorders, including back, neck and shoulder pain, wider musculoskeletal issues, hay fever, migraines and headaches, stress and anxiety, among many others.
If you’re among those who have a fear of needles but think acupuncture offers the opportunity to finally resolve an ongoing health problem, get in touch for a confidential chat and find out what laser acupuncture involves and its potential benefits.