If you’re like most residents of Northern Virginia, acupuncture isn’t a totally foreign term. You’ve probably heard it mentioned before and may even know someone who’s tried it. But, this ancient practice is still plagued by many misunderstandings. The falsehoods about acupuncture range from plausible to absurd, but five of the top misconceptions are:
1. It’s old, outdated, and dangerous.
While acupuncture is not outdated or dangerous, this myth at least has some truth to it: acupuncture is indeed a practice with a lengthy history. In fact, it can be traced back to 200 B.C. But, that doesn’t mean that today’s acupuncture is the same as that practiced in ancient China. While nearly every medical treatment carries some amount of risk, issues arising from acupuncture are exceedingly low, and the FDA classified acupuncture needles as Class II medical devices, meaning they are generally recognized as effective and safe when utilized properly by a professional. Practitioners must be licensed acupuncturists, and in 23 U.S. states, they must hold certification from The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). In Northern Virginia, an acupuncture professional must pass five separate exams.
2. It can only be used for pain management.
Since it deals with the whole body’s life force (qi), acupuncture has a huge variety of applications and is used for everything from migraines to addiction treatment. Some of the most common issues that acupuncture is used for include:
• Illnesses relating to environmental toxins
• Various Ulcers
• Most digestive issues
• Stroke Paralysis
• Many types of chronic pain
• Addiction treatment (in the form of aureculotherapy, a type of ear acupuncture)
• Mental issues like schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and insomnia
3. Acupuncturists don’t want you to use any other treatment.
While some people choose to use acupuncture as their main form of treatment, many other therapies can be used in conjunction with it, and many health care providers encourage the use of acupuncture alongside other treatments for a more thorough approach to healing. In Northern Virginia, acupuncture practitioners offer an updated form of the ancient practice and complement it with holistic treatments such as herbs and diet planning, as well as modern therapies.
4. Doctors don’t trust it.
While the scientific and medical communities continue to conduct studies on the efficacy of acupuncture for various applications, it nonetheless has a dedicated following. In fact, a 2005 study by HCD Research showed that the majority of physicians – 59% – believed that “acupuncture can be effective to some extent.” In addition, the U.S.’s National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have agreed that acupuncture can be effective in pain relief and treatment of specific conditions.
5. It’s a placebo effect.
Even though acupuncture is an accepted therapy by many health organizations, the debate still rages over whether acupuncture actually heals or if it’s just a placebo effect, and much of this stems from the fact that it’s very difficult to simulate acupuncture. For many people, though, the argument of whether or not it’s a placebo effect is irrelevant. If the patient has been helped by acupuncture, meaning their pain has faded, they’ve finally managed to kick their addiction, or they have been helped in whatever other issue they were having, then the acupuncture has worked, regardless of whether or not scientists can find a physiological cause.
These are just five of the top myths surrounding acupuncture, and you’ve doubtless heard many more. The best way to find out for yourself, though, is to get in touch with the professionals. We suggest contacting a reputable wellness center that offers acupuncture, whether in Northern Virginia or any other region, and speaking with a trained acupuncturist.