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Does Acupuncture Work?

I’m asked this question at least once a week, and it’s become one of my favorite questions to answer. All I have to do is mention that I am an acupuncturist in a crowd of relatively “newish” people and one of three things happens:

1. A barrage of questions.

“Does acupuncture really…work?” “Is Chinese Medicine real?” (this is normally followed by some mild pinking of the face, as the inquirer usually has the delayed realization that they are questioning the legitimacy of a practice to which I’ve devoted my life… but hey, I take no offense, and more importantly, it gives me a chance to dork out about what I love.

2. A bright eyed and bushy-tailed love.

“Oh my god, I love acupuncture! My brother didn’t poop for, like, 3 years, and then he went to see this acupuncturist and he’s been POOPING EVERY DAY SINCE. Unbelievable! So, I have this neck pain…”

Is this what you think about when someone mentions Chinese medicine?
Is this what you think about when someone mentions Chinese medicine?

3. The Acupuncture- is- Quackery Roll of the Eyes, And I Will Remain True to This Notion No Matter What You Say, Therefore I’m Going To Ignore You and Help Myself to a Large Serving of BBQ’d mini-weiners…

Truth be told, these people often become patients of mine, but arrive in my office (initially) with the proclamation that they don’t believe in what I do. In other words, I sometimes get lucky enough to help this kind of person, but usually they are in chronic or acute pain for which they have not yet found relief, and at the urging of some family member, they begrudgingly come to see me.

They almost always come back.  Dig?

Addendum (I forgot one):  This kind of scenario usually involves an older man who will look at me with amusement, call me “Hon”, and talk to me as if my head is a balloon filled with silly string: “Hey, Hon, can that ah-coo-punctsha make my wife bettah’ between the sheets?” Which, truth be told, is a question I usually interpret to mean: “Can acupuncture help with erectile dysfunction?Continue reading…