Are you scared of needles? Well, that makes sense.
Bare with me and we’ll make the discussion of sharp, pointy objects brief.
Whatcha Scared Of?
Western hypodermic needles are built to shoot substances into the body or extract substances from the body. To do this, they must be hollow. Hollow needles take up a lot of surface area on your body, and when they pierce the skin, they tend to hurt. I have been needling myself and my patients for years, and I am still nervous when I see a big, honkin hypodermic needle coming towards my arm!
Acupuncture needles, on the other hand, are filiform, which means that they are not hollow. They also have a much smaller circumference and take up a lot less surface area. In fact, you can stick between 12-16 acupuncture needles inside one Western medicine needle, as seen in the picture above. Acupuncture needles, often referred to as “pins,” feel nothing like a hypodermic needle. I often needle a person for the first time and then hear them say, “That was it??” Yep! That’s it. It’s really not too bad.
It makes sense. Of course you are scared of needles. From a young age, we have become familiar with our doctors and nurses sticking us with very painful needles for shots and blood draws. But acupuncture needles don’t feel like hypodermic (Western) needles at all. They’re much less painful, so maybe you could give it a try!
Or maybe not.
Don’t worry. I am not here to convert you. Whatever the reason, needle phobia is real. If you’re one of the 10% of people who suffer from trypanophobia, i.e. a fear of needles and injections, and you’re not going to be convinced to try acupuncture, fear not – there are other options for you!
At Light & Dark Acupuncture, we offer Non-Needle treatments to any adult who requests a gentle, non-invasive treatment. Non-Needle treatments still use the time-tested East Asian techniques taught in acupuncture school. They simply use the ones that do not involve needles. These techniques are built to help blood flow smoothly, to help boost the immune system’s response and relax the nervous system. They help improve muscles, tissues and organ function, and they ease turbulent flow through the mind and spirit.
Here are a few of the techniques called upon in a Non-Needle Treatment:
- Herbal Formulas: Acupuncturists use herbal medicine to craft a formula that will treat both your current symptoms and the underlying cause of those symptoms. Patients can drink these formulas in the form of a tea. From old folk remedies to modern, researched synergistic herbal constituents, herbal formulas have been used for decades for healing a myriad of disorders, illnesses and injuries. Patients are frequently astounded by the power of an herbal formula.
- Cupping: Chinese Medicine practitioners use cupping to release muscle stiffness, improve blood flow through areas of tension, and open the pores. This can be useful for tight, sore muscles, the beginning stages of a cold and deep congestion in the lungs. Are you wondering if this is the technique that left round marks all over the 2016 Olympians? It sure is! Does it hurt? Nope – cupping feels more like a strong massage and is not meant to be painful. Most people who try it fall immediately in love with it. If you want to know a little more about it, you can read my blog on cupping and watch the video mentioned at the end of the blog.
- Shonishin: While Shonishin is typically used on children, I have found it to be effective on teenagers and adults as well. This is a non-invasive, no-needle technique that uses tapping and brushing movements to stimulate acupuncture points. Your body creates an immune response to the technique which sets off a cascade of events that lead to healing. Shonishin is incredibly relaxing. It’s wonderful for adults who have been doing a little too much adulting, and it can be beneficial in several disorders such as common cold, migraines, joint aches, etc. I’ve written some information about Shonishin on my Pediatrics webpage, if you’d like to learn more about it.
- “Acupressure” or Tuina & Shiatsu: These are two versions of therapeutic massage. Tuina is a Chinese therapeutic massage that is often referred to as “acupressure”. Specific points are chosen per TCM theory and pressure is applied to these points using various massage techniques. Shiatsu is of Japanese origin and it uses a similar but slightly different approach to create a therapeutic response. Both techniques can be used for muscle, tendon and bone aches, pains and tensions, as well as for internal issues such as gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety and fatigue. Do you wonder if tuina and shiatsu may be effective for your health concerns? Here is the link to a video demonstrating tuina – at about 1 minute into it, you can begin to see several tuina techniques. You can also call me anytime and ask. I’m happy to answer your questions!
- Moxabustion: Also known as “Moxa.” Moxa is an herb that we burn over the top of an acupuncture point. This herb is a biological wonder. It warms the acupuncture points to increase blood flow and nourishes the qi and blood to improve energy levels. It has the perfect consistency to be rolled into a ball, and as it burns it consolidates into a little pile of ash that sticks to itself, so that it does not fall apart. I often use moxa on individuals who experience significant fatigue because the treatments yield better results with the help of this medicinal friend.
- Gua Sha: Gua Sha is an Eastern technique that involves scraping a specific area. While “scraping” does not sound like it would be a gentle therapy, it feels surprisingly comforting when you are using a “gua sha tool.” This technique breaks up adhesions and helps the surface capillaries breathe so that fresh blood can move uninhibited through areas of stagnation. I use gua sha when a patient has an old injury that has never quite healed and it is causing secondary and tertiary issues in the body. Like cupping, the technique leaves marks, which are not the same as bruises. Gua Sha marks do no go through the same stages of coloration as a normal bruise. They simply fade away sometime between 3 – 10 days after treatment.
So, if you’re interested in an alternative therapy from a rich tradition of Eastern healing techniques, but you’re scared of being poked (even if you’re told that it doesn’t hurt!), seek out a non-needle treatment! If you’re not sure if this treatment can help your current condition, call me for a free phone consultation. I am happy to answer your questions and discuss your health concerns. If you are not located in Denver, I can help you find a practitioner who will provide a non-needle treatment in your area.