5 Misguided Myths about Acupuncture

Setting the record straight on a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine.
14 Sep 2023
Words by: Bridget Barnett

Acupuncture uses the insertion of very fine needles into clogged or weakened points of the body to mobilise the flow of Qi – our vital energy – in therapeutic ways. When implemented by an experienced professional, the alternative medical practice can offer an abundance of health benefits, including the relief of chronic pain. Still, it’s a practice surrounded by mythology and misinformation. Read on to learn about five misconceptions that deserve to be debunked.

white flower on a person's arm
Apart from a slight prick from the needle, you won’t feel any pain
a woman in a beige dress lying down on the bed reading while holding her belly
Acupuncture can help with menstrual cramps and morning sickness

1. It's not just for pain

Acupuncture certainly helps with pain, but it’s more than just chronic back and neck pain for which it's best known. It can also help with health issues such as headaches, stomach pain, menstrual cramps, nausea and vomiting, morning sickness, allergies, high blood pressure, and anxiety.

2. It's always painful

Involving needles, acupuncture can take the rap of being painful – but this isn’t usually the case. Apart from a slight prick when the needle is inserted, and potentially some tingling sensations, you won’t feel any pain.

3. It's not science-backed

Like many alternative medicines, many people think acupuncture isn’t backed by science, but there are plenty of studies that have proven its merit, including research around its efficacy in easing anxiety, chronic pain, and migraines.

A woman in a white coat applying acupuncture needles into a woman's shoulder
Image courtesy of

4. It has side effects

People who think you might need to take time off work following an acupuncture session are mistaken – you can usually continue with your day without any restrictions at all.

5. It requires long-term sessions

While acupuncture can require multiple sessions – such as 8 to 10 to see an improvement – it’s not always required for those with minor issues. The treatment plan is unique to every individual, and that could mean just one or two treatments, with no further follow-up necessary.

More Resources

Looking to try acupuncture in Hong Kong?
Here are three places that offer the alternative medicine technique:

These links are shared with the only intention of being helpful, and have no affiliation with The New Moon.