A common question about acupuncture is “Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?” The answer is, thankfully, no.
Some people worry that, since acupuncture originated in Asia, or is touted as an ancient art, it’s rooted in mystical beliefs or somehow mysteriously manipulates your body. I respect those who question; curiosity and caution are valuable qualities to have!
You can rest assured that acupuncture is not a belief system. What it is, however, is an elegant, complex system of medicine that uses tiny stainless steel needles to physically activate specific points on the body. The needles that go into your skin don’t rely on, don’t harm, and don’t affect any religious, philosophical, theoretical, scientific, or other belief systems you may have.
Here’s one way I know it’s true: I’ve worked with patients from every religion and walk of life, and I’ve also even worked with patients who downright say they don’t believe in acupuncture. The effects of the needles are powerful regardless.
Here’s another way I know it’s true: acupuncture works amazingly well on animals. That’s probably because they don’t have thoughts like “I really really have high hopes that this acupuncture helps my hind leg” or “this person better not be using voodoo on me”. Nope – they just lay there, let a tiny needle slide right in and out, then get up and get on with the rest of their sniffing-sleeping-eating-pooping day.
Some people say acupuncture is simply a placebo, which is ironically very different and very similar to belief. Placebo means “a substance containing no medication and prescribed or given to reinforce a patient’s expectation to get well.” The key word here is expectation – that means a person chooses to believe a placebo and increases their own expectation of getting better. For example: In a clinical trial, a person who is given sugar pills may choose to believe they will feel better… and sometimes they do. Another example: Some people choose to believe that prayer will heal them… and sometimes it does.
Does it matter what was in the pill that made the person feel better? Does it matter whether the act of prayer has been proven to heal? In the same vein, it doesn’t matter whether you believe acupuncture is placebo or science or magic. What matters is feeling better. And that’s what we aim to help you do.