The Acupuncture 411

After being in practice for almost two decades, I’ve realized that there are many common misconceptions associated with acupuncture.
The most common is that acupuncture will hurt. With proper needle insertion, acupuncture should not hurt but sometimes can be a little uncomfortable. Sensations often felt once the needles are inserted may include; itchy, achy, numbness, heat, electrical, tingling, or heaviness. These sensations are referred to as “Qi” sensations. Acupuncture is generally relaxing. The acupuncture needles are very thin, about the size of a hair.

To reassure patients, I remind them that they are in control–I can stop, remove a needle, or adjust a treatment at any time. Typically patients new to acupuncture are curious, many do worry about it being painful. After the first needle is inserted the most common response is “That’s it, it’s in?” Sensations felt can indeed feel odd and hard to explain until it’s experienced.

Another misconception is that an acupuncture treatment only includes the insertion of needles. Acupuncturists also use more than just needles including: acupressure (pressure instead of needles to acupuncture points), moxibustion (an herb used to heat specific acupuncture points), tui na (a style of bodywork/ massage), gua sha (scraping the skin with a specialized tool), cupping (glass or plastic cups are placed on the skin to create suction), TDP lamp (therapeutic heat therapy), press tacks and ear seeds (used for continuous pressure to acupuncture points as a take-home treatment), electrical stimulation (a mild electrical current is applied to the needles for continuous stimulation to acupuncture points).

Acupuncture offers such a wide variety of benefits that it’s worth confront any fears or reservations about it. Acupuncture can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety; improving energy and concentration; boosting the immune system; alleviating pain; decreasing inflammation: increasing circulation; aiding in fertility; triggering the body’s natural painkillers; and stimulating the body’s natural healing response. Studies indicate that acupuncture releases endorphins that bind to opiate receptors to decrease pain and inflammation. Acupuncture can help manipulate both the connective tissue and motor neurons in muscle tissue affecting the contraction and release of muscles. This form of manipulation with the needles helps to re-set muscular balance.


Acupuncturist, herbalist, Maya abdominal practitioner, and reflexologist Christina Morris is the founder of Element Natural Healing Arts. Writing about health and wellness gives her an outlet to express her care and concern for her beloved community. She believes everyone can achieve better health and happiness–emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.