Since I’ve been back home in Greenville, I’m running into old friends and meeting lots of new people too! When I meet someone new, they usually ask me what I do. My standard answer is, “I’m an acupuncturist by trade, who combines functional medicine, nutrition, and acupuncture to get to the root of people’s problems.” When they hear I do acupuncture in Greenville, their eyes widen in surprise and then comes the flood of questions and acupuncture myths. I get it – people are curious about acupuncture. It’s a relatively new medical treatment within the scope of Western medicine.

Although acupuncture has been around for 5,000 plus years, it remains a mystery to most people. Here are five acupuncture myths about and what you should really know:

Myth 1: Acupuncture hurts.

Yes, we use needles … but they are about the size of two to three human hairs. They are tiny! Unlike hypodermic needles that are used for injections, acupuncture needles are solid, remarkably thin, and therefore cause very little pain. During the insertion of needles, some people feel nothing, while others experience a quick twinge, which may be followed by a feeling of heaviness or warmth. This is the desired effect and should not be uncomfortable.

Myth 2: Acupuncture only treats pain.

Acupuncture absolutely can help with pain, especially joint, back, headaches, and menstrual cramps. There is an abundance of research to back up its effectiveness for pain. However, we’ve also had success managing other conditions using acupuncture including nausea, allergies, anxiety, infertility, depression, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, and more.

Myth 3: Acupuncture is the same as dry needling.

No – not at all! Dry needling is a physical therapy or chiropractic modality used to directly treat trigger points using acupuncture needles. I use similar techniques from time to time and call this local needling – it can be effective for the treatment of local pain. The training and philosophy for dry needling are significantly different; around 50 hours or a weekend course for chiropractors or physical therapists as opposed to over 2000 hours for licensed acupuncturists.

Myth 4: Acupuncture is ancient medicine; no legitimate healthcare professional would recommend it.

Acupuncture is a treatment option that many medical institutions recommend. One of the biggest proponents is the United States military! The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds many clinical research trials on acupuncture. Both the NIH and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize acupuncture as a valid treatment for a wide range of conditions. We are dedicated to co-managing patients and communicating effectively with local Greenville physicians.

Myth 5: You need a doctor’s referral or a prescription for acupuncture.

For acupuncture in Greenville, you do not need a doctor’s referral or prescription. We do recommend that you consult with your primary care physician for a diagnostic exam for the condition you plan to treat. For musculoskeletal cases, we recommend you see our chiropractor in Greenville for an assessment before beginning acupuncture. It is important you seek out a qualified and medically licensed acupuncturist before starting treatment.


Searching for a Greenville acupuncturist? Curious about clearing up acupuncture myths and if it can help you? Please reach out to us with any questions!

– Fran