Acupuncture- “I Don’t Believe it!”

By Quinn Takei, L.Ac, DOM(NM)
Articles & Facts
From The Center: Natural Health Specialists

“Do I have to believe in this for it to work?”  As an acupuncturist I get asked this question
all the time.  The answer is “No”.  Belief has nothing more to do with your healing and
recovery than it does in Western medicine, or any other form of medicine.  
Sometimes my favorite experiences in my clinic are with clients who come through the
door absolutely not believing in, nor willing to accept the validity and effectiveness of
acupuncture.  Just the other day, a gentleman just like this came to my office for the first
time.  We will call “Bob”.  Bob’s wife has been an acupuncture client for awhile.  She had
excellent results.  Her husband was suffering from chronic pain in the neck and tried
almost everything try to alleviate the pain.  Nothing provided him with relief and he was
increasingly frustrated and irritable.  Bob saw the benefits his wife got from acupuncture.  
He witnessed the quality of her life dramatically improve with acupuncture, but was still
unwilling to schedule and appointment despite months of his wife requesting and begging
him do so.  Finally, his wife scheduled an appointment for him and said she would make
him come.  

He showed up for that initial appointment.  During his comprehensive intake, his answers
were short and blunt.  I could practically hear his thoughts saying, “This is a bunch of
hocus-pocus, voodoo, bull and I’m irritated with my wife for making me be here.”   Early in
my career as an acupuncturist, an individual like this may have been intimidating to me.  
But now, I welcome clients like these.  I even enjoy clients like this because I now know
they are about to experience something that will help them physically, and change their
mind.  Just as it did with Bob.

After the interview, I explained to Bob, whose arms are now crossed, how Chinese
medicine and acupuncture worked.  As I usually do, I also explained why he was
experiencing the pain, as well as the variety of other problems he was experiencing.  I
keep this explanation quite brief because from Bob’s body language it was evident, he
didn’t care and didn’t want to hear it.  He practically told me, “Just get started so I can
leave and show my wife this was a waste of time so she will get of my back.”  

I asked Bob to look to the left as far as he could with out pain.  He turned his head about
30 degrees and then winced in pain.  I asked him to turn to the right.  This time even less
range of motion before the pain was apparent on his face.  I clarified with him the exact
location of pain in the neck.  I put two small acupuncture needles into his wrist and mildly
gave each a twist for about 5 seconds.  

“Ok Bob, slowly turn your head again to the left just the point you feel discomfort or pain.”
I said.

Bob started to turn his head the left.  He when he reached the 30 degree point he had to
stop at before, he kept going.  He went to 45 degrees, then 60 degrees, and to 90
degrees.  The further he went the more he looked like a deer in the headlights.  

“Now look to the right just until you feel discomfort of pain”, I said as Bob looked at me in

As he rotated his head to the right the same thing happened; improved range of motion
and no pain.

“What the…?!?!?” Bob said bewildered.  “Well that is the darndest thing.” He said now
laughing and turning his head from left to right trying to find the pain that was no longer

With a big smile and a little bewilderment in his eyes he looked at me and said, “I don’t
believe it.”

“That’s okay, you don’t have to.” I replied.

After living with chronic pain for years, Bob was 100% pain free after 3 treatments.  Bob
continues to schedule periodic treatments to maintain his health.

Quinn Takei, L.Ac, DOM(NM)
The Center: Natural Health Specialists
8404 Six Forks Road, Suite 201
Raleigh, NC  27615
office: (919) 848-0200
fax: (919) 848-2011