Don’t Like Needles? You’re Not Alone, But You Can Still Feel Better.
Are you one of the millions of people who will never try acupuncture because the thought of getting poked with even one needle makes you queasy and the idea of 20 or 30 needles all at once makes you want to run for the hills, if you don’t faint first? There are a lot of articles out there telling you to just “get over” your needle fear, and giving you 5 or 10 ways to do it. If your response is something like, “my crippling pain really isn’t that bad”, keep reading.
According to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing1, the vast majority of children have a fear of needles (who can blame them, they’re always getting shots), and while the number of people who admit to needle fear declines as we reach adulthood, up to 30% of young and middle-aged adults still admit to a fear of needles. And it’s not just lay people - according to the study, 27% of hospital workers avoid getting the influenza vaccine because of a fear of needles.
Fear is real. In oriental medicine it is one of the 7 emotions that can seriously affect your health. Fear descends the qi in an unhealthy way, draining your energy and vitality, and if it’s chronic it can lead to organ damage. Fear damages the Kidney qi, which impacts brain function, adrenal, reproductive and bladder function, etc. Fear, and it’s cousin, anxiety, make it much more difficult to think clearly when facing a scary situation. So naturally, people generally avoid doing things that provoke fear, particularly fears that they may have had since they were infants. On the surface, this seems like a logical thing to do. After all, the best defense in a scary situation is “don’t be there”. Unless you need an injection for diabetes, or asthma, or allergies, or you have a chronic condition that acupuncture could help. If you have a serious medical condition, it’s better to face your fear, knowing that it’s influencing your behavior, and get the shots or the acupuncture, using every means at your disposal to reduce your anxiety because you know that your long-term health is more important than a momentary discomfort, however scary.
Still, this isn’t an article on how to get over your fear. It’s about how to go around it and find relief for your symptoms. Many conditions that can be helped by acupuncture can also be significantly helped using acupressure, herbal formulas, Chinese nutritional therapy and lifestyle changes. If you don’t like needles, don’t do needles, but do get better. Don’t just live with pain or other chronic illnesses. Take action. Oriental medicine has been around for thousands of years, and has helped millions of people who are afraid of needles. It’s a rich and varied healthcare system that may help you too, if you decide to take the first step and start your journey to better health.
You don’t need to be a mystical master who has trained in the misty mountains for decades to do well at acupressure. Fundamentally, acupressure is just hacking your central nervous system to reduce pain and promote good health. Anyone can do it and get good results (I’ve written The Acupressure Log Book so you can track your progress). Chinese nutritional therapy goes beyond fats, carbs and proteins to provide nutrition targeted to specific organs that are causing problems. Herbal formulas provide a boost when good nutrition alone isn’t enough, and lifestyle changes, like getting enough sleep and hydrating adequately, correct the root causes of dozens of disorders.
The body is constantly changing, and there are ways you can influence that action of change to go in a positive direction. The key to getting better without needles is simple - take consistent action and the body will respond. It soaks up good energy and nutrients like a sponge and the results can be amazing. You may even find that your fear starts to subside as you nourish your Kidney qi and your health improves.
1. McLenon, Jennifer; Rogers, Mary A.M. (2019). "The fear of needles: A systematic review and meta‐analysis." Journal of Advanced Nursing 75(1): 30-42.