Acupuncture is becoming more and more mainstream by the day! A greater number of people are using it for a variety of health concerns, large hospitals and medical clinics are adding acupuncture to their services, and more athletes and celebrities are talking about their successful acupuncture experiences. However, despite the increasing popularity of acupuncture, myths and misinformation continue to abound. Take the quiz below, and test your knowledge of this ancient healing system.
1) True or false: Acupuncture isn’t painful.
2) True or false: Acupuncture is an outdated folk medicine that doesn’t really work.
3) True or false: Acupuncture is only good for treating pain.
4) True or false: If you have acupuncture, it should only be performed by a doctor.
5) True or false: If acupuncture works at all, it’s only because of the placebo effect.
6) True or false: Licensed acupuncturists can offer more to their patients than just acupuncture treatments.
7) True or false: My doctor will think I’m crazy for trying acupuncture.
1) True. This is frequently the topic that is on everyone’s mind before they have their first acupuncture session. While acupuncture involves the use of needles, we are able to use an extremely fine gauge, because the needles are not hollow. You may feel some sensation when a needle is inserted but for the most part, that sensation fades, and most people feel comfortable and relaxed during their session.
2) False. Folk medicine is a style of healing that is very regional in nature, is practiced informally, usually by lay members of a region or culture. Its healing practices are usually not written, but instead passed on by word of mouth. Acupuncture, on the other hand is the subject of thousands of written works, is practiced all over the world, and is the subject of thousands of studies on its effectiveness. Many prestigious institutions, including the World Health Organization, the Mayo Clinic, and the National Institutes of Health recognize the effectiveness of acupuncture for a variety of health conditions.
3) Also false. While acupuncture is very effective for treating all kinds of pain, it is also effective for a wide variety of other health conditions. The World Health Organization in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health have compiled a list of conditions and diseases for which acupuncture has been shown to be effective, based on research studies. The list is extensive and keeps growing!
4) False again! There are some doctors who are trained to perform acupuncture. Most typically have about 50 to 100 hours of specific training in acupuncture. You could also get acupuncture from your chiropractor, but that would be a little like having your dentist perform a chiropractic manipulation after a few weekend classes. Chiropractors have about 100-200 hours of training in acupuncture. If you want acupuncture performed by someone who is proficient in acupuncture, go to a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.). They are nationally certified and have roughly 3,000 hours of training in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, including about 650 hours in a clinic setting.
5) Another false! Actually, there’s a lot more going on during acupuncture than the placebo effect. Studies have documented that during acupuncture, our brains release endorphins, chemicals that act as your body’s natural pain relievers. In addition, researchers have found that acupuncture has an anti-inflammatory effect, improves immunity, helps to regulate your hormones, and boosts circulation.
6) This is true. Licensed acupuncturists have a variety of tools to help you heal more effectively. Many are nationally credentialed in the use of herbs. Most will also use heat, electric stimulation, Chinese food therapy, some body work, and even lifestyle counseling to get your back on your feet.
7) This is false. While it depends on your individual doctor, many physicians are recommending acupuncture to their patients. In addition, many large hospitals offer acupuncture to their patients. Many Western health care providers embrace acupuncture, especially when other treatments have failed. While there are certain medical conditions that should absolutely treated through Western medicine, there are many instances when acupuncture is an appropriate treatment or compliment to a Western treatment.
So how did you do? If you got six or all seven of these right, you’ve probably had the pleasure of experiencing acupuncture. If you answered four or five correctly, chances are you know someone who has had acupuncture or have done a little reading on your own. Fewer than that correct? It may be time for you to check out acupuncture for yourself!