“But I’m Scared of Needles.” | Acupuncture and the needle phobic patient



One common stumbling block for acupuncturists is convincing people that their anxiety over needles is vastly outweighed by the benefits of acupuncture. Although public awareness of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture has never been higher, there are still many, many people who have never experienced it. And many are adamant that they never will because the treatment involves needles.

Which is a great shame, because there are times when I believe they will truly benefit from a session or two. For instance, patients presenting with back pain, insomnia or fatigue would definitely be helped by a holistic, chemical-free approach such as acupuncture. However as a practitioner, I must carefully determine whether it is advisable to try and convince the person. The last thing I want is to have a patient lying on the table shaking with fear. This is not conducive to the treatment and will most probably be the last acupuncture session he or she will ever have. 


As a holistic therapy, acupuncture relies on the team effort of the practitioner and the patient. This team effort is based on the foundation that the patient sought out the best treatment for themselves based on research and recommendations. Certainly I have had patients who were slightly nervous and then pleasantly surprised by the unique sensation of deqi brought on by correctly administered needles. However, for the unfortunate percentage of people who truly do not want needles inserted into their body I think it’s best to refer them to a practitioner of another type of therapy. In these situations the damage to a patient’s trust (and the reputation of acupuncture as a whole) is far larger than any benefit acupuncture could have to a patient’s condition. 


Other posts you may be interested in:

Five Reasons to See an Acupuncturist

How to find a good acupuncture practitioner | Three questions to ask when choosing an acupuncturist



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