Needles have never been very exciting to me. That opinion likely did not start in the fifth grade when I was poked with a compass that was supposed to be used for drawing circles. Perhaps, then, the beginning of the needle fear is lost in obscurity or suppressed. Nevertheless, there is a fear. The last remembered near fainting response to a shot was in my early twenties or late teens. Having me lie down was better than watching me fall over. Once in my thirties the nurse knew of the fear and had me lie down first. Maybe that was overly protective.

The fact that my last known “over reaction” was close to fifty years ago does not mean that the fear has evaporated. You learn to cope. You never watch a shot being given. You definitely don’t watch blood being drawn. Your mind travels somewhere, anywhere. You don’t talk with the nurse or technician. The last time I gave blood the bag filled too fast, which can leave you a tad faint. You’re quiet. You practice calmness. It’s a true fear.

And so what do you do in an attempt to better subsist? Sure – you try acupuncture.

No one likely has a grasp on why that seemed like a good idea. My personal trainer had an event where she brought in an acupuncturist. There were other similar events with a massage therapist, a reflexologist, and yoga instructors with various specialties. So, this needle fearing man at age 67 shows up knowing that there was a chance, maybe a good chance, that she would be booked through the evening in a “first come, first served” approach. Oh, no, no – the fearful shows up too early… Now what? Walk away? Well, the trainer already saw you. To say, “Pardon me, I thought this was the beer tasting event” was not going to go down smoothly. You’re committed – at least until the first needle hits. Maybe the response could be to just pass out.

Sure, ask her about her qualifications. She looks too young – she couldn’t have been schooled in this. Yes, she was qualified – graduate school and all. Does she have personal experience as a receiver or is she merely a giver of skin pricks? Yes, she had acupuncture on a sore knee if recalled correctly – there was already some fear setting in and some details are lost now – and it helped where traditional medicine had not. So the old man gave in, perhaps apprehensive of looking like a wimp. And the treatment was more or less a general one although my back pain history was admitted.

The first needle hardly was felt. Neither was the second. By the third sheer terror had likely set in (and for no good reason), so on we went. The counting of needles was lost… And the next morning my back pain was better.


Still, these are NEEDLES. The follow up visit was put off. And delayed further. And postponed. Finally, maybe one more time to solidify angst and an appointment was made. Well, she wasn’t difficult to look at, so maybe one more time…

The appointment seemed more formal that the introductory event earlier. She asked questions. Some eliminated any interest in how she looked – this was similar to a doctor’s interview and so we’re talking bowel habits or something. MY habits… The way out seemed to be throwing something at her she might not be able to address or, at least, be difficult. My eczema. It itched. Even the “good stuff” didn’t seem to stop the itching. “So, take a shot at that, young lady,” ran through my mind. So, eczema was discussed. She had me lie down on my stomach and she said she was going to address the back and lungs. Lungs? Well, lungs and skin seem to have some relationship that escapes me now, but she said it would help the itching although the rash might stay around. OK. The next day, the itching had subsided by, oh, 90% or more. And my back was fine.


Flash forward. After months of acupuncture treatments, needles are less scary. And life is better with the acupuncture therapy as a regular part of life – less itching, less back pain, and less pain with other injuries over the year.

What silly fear of needles?