A common thing I’ve heard from patients is that they are afraid of needles, and that is why they waited so long before trying acupuncture. While a fear of needles is a fairly common thing, it should be noted that the needles that most people are afraid of are larger syringe style needles that are used to inject medication or draw blood and are often very painful. The truth is, needles come in all shapes and sizes. Acupuncture needles are filiform needles, which means they are small, stainless steel, and are solid, meaning they don’t have an opening to inject anything.

Depending on the needles being used, generally you can fit anywhere between 12-20 acupuncture needles in the hole of a syringe that is typically used in a hospital. I assure you that acupuncture needles are in fact very small and most often times completely painless.

I’ve talked recently to a doctor who asked what gauge needle (size) I was using and I mentioned 36 – 42 gauge and he was shocked at how small that needle was. The bigger the number indicates the needles are smaller and smaller. Often small medical needles are said to be 26-28 gauge, so that gives an indication as to just how much smaller acupuncture needles are compared to “small” needles that doctors and nurses are using.

While being scared of needles is pretty common, just know that many of my patients first started with that same fear and after 1 treatment, they realized that it wasn’t bad at all, and over time, they don’t even remember what they were afraid of.

My favorite fear of needles story was from a patient I was working with for migraines who was terrified of needles and thought she couldn’t handle them at all. After easing her through the first session, we worked on her headaches until they were gone, and one day she came in and told me she went to her doctor for a checkup and when they drew blood she didn’t even flinch or even really notice it at all. So as an added bonus for getting rid of her headaches, we were also able to get rid of her fear of needles as well.

Ultimately, nothing anybody can say can help somebody with a fear of needles to love needles, but I would recommend trying acupuncture out for yourself, maybe you’ll be like my patient and solve two problems with one treatment. Whatever you’re coming in for, and also that pesky fear of needles. Most times, the resulting positive results of acupuncture is worth the needles.

If you have any questions, or if you just want to see how small an acupuncture needle really is, feel free to contact me and set up an appointment and I would be glad to show you what the needles look like.

Michael Lee