And, if you actually experience trypanophobia , aka, an extreme fear of needles, then acupuncture is almost certainly not the right therapeutic practice for you. However, if you’re just slightly nervous about needles causing pain, Freda says there’s no real cause for concern. “First-time patients are nervous about the needles since most people have only had shots for vaccines or acupuncture for fertility needles from blood tests. Acupuncture needles are significantly thinner than these needles, so there is much less sensation as the needles are inserted,” she explains. Freda explains that the acupuncturist will walk you through the process, step by step, to ensure you feel comfortable and not stressed. Then, your acupuncturist “will typically insert about ten needles in different parts of the body and the needles are retained for twenty to thirty minutes.” If your anxiety about acupuncture is less about the needles causing you pain, and more about their posing a risk of infection, that’s also a moot concern: As long as you see a licensed acupuncturist ( LAc ) — who are required to use sterilized needles only once — Freda says “the adverse effects from acupuncture are minimal,” with slight bruising being the most typical negative effect. See? Not so scary, after all. Unlike being stuck in a typical physician’s office that often feels sterile and uninviting, Freda says, “The whole experience of acupuncture is much more comfortable since we create a relaxing environment with patients laying down in a private room with soft music, and dimmed lights.” Michelle, a community organizer who has been seeing an acupuncturist since her teens for chronic health issues, explains that her first appointment was “rather awkward, but only because how empathic and in tune my practitioner was.” She adds that “acupuncture may be expensive, and most insurances won't cover it, but it helps and it's one of the things that saved me from having to get carpal tunnel surgery.
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