Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin at specific points on the body. There is no injection of any substance and the treatment itself causes minimal discomfort. Acupuncture is safe and effective and is often successfully used as an adjunct to conventional medical care or on its own.
Acupuncture has its roots deeply planted in China, as a science, it is believed to be between 5,000 and 7,000 years old. It’s use spread throughout ancient Egypt, the Middle East, the Roman Empire, and later into Western Europe as merchants and missionaries to China told of amazing discoveries the people of the Orient had developed. Although proven successful for hundreds of years without the benefit of modern scientific knowledge, it is only in recent years that the scientific and medical communities of Europe and North America have begun to study acupuncture to understand and explain its effectiveness. Acupuncture did not become known on a national level in North America until the 1970s when diplomatic relations between China and America were relaxed.
"Classical" acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a medical system with more than 2,000 years of documented existence, which includes the use of herbal remedies, dietary therapy, massage, relaxation and special exercises as therapeutic interventions. It involves the placement of fine, solid needles at specific points in the body. Heat application or electrical stimulation is often added to the treatment.
What is Medical Acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture in contract to classical acupuncture is a methodology of using the same acupuncture needles, and is performed by health-care professionals with training in biomedical sciences (e.g., physicians, chiropractors, physiotherapists), who combine this treatment with other therapeutic approaches, as needed.
Medical Acupuncture respects a contemporary understanding of neuromuscular anatomy and pain physiology while embracing the classical Chinese perception of a subtle circulation network of energy called qi (pronounced "chi"). When using this model acupuncture needles are connected to electricity to further enhance the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture. Acupuncture is used to:
- Encourage the body to promote natural healing
- Restore proper function of affected areas of the body
- Reduce or relieve pain
What can Acupuncture help with?
- Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment, or as an adjunct to other therapeutic interventions. The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of:
- Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, neck and back pain, sports injuries, sciatica, osteoarthritis, neuritis and facial pain;
- Digestive disorders: irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhea and gastritis;
- Menstrual and reproductive problems: dismenorrhea, and perimenopausal symptoms;
- Urinary tract disorders: prostatitis and bladder dysfunction
- Respiratory problems: sinusitis, asthma, sore throat and recurrent respiratory tract infections
- Stress and psycho-emotional problems.
NOTE: In treating any illness or affliction, a correct diagnosis is important before any decisions are made regarding therapy. Once the diagnosis is established, a qualified practitioner can advise whether acupuncture is appropriate.
How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture stimulates your body's natural healing mechanisms, helping to restore physical and mental balance. Traditional Chinese explanations use the concept of restoring the normal flow of the vital energy that circulates along special channels all throughout the body. Although this model is very useful in the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to health care, I tend to adopt a more modern view.
Modern research has shown that he insertion of acupuncture needles and stimulation of known points elicits a complex set of responses in the peripheral, central and autonomic nervous systems, including the release of chemicals and hormones involved in pain transmission, behaviour, muscle and visceral activity. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture stimulates the body's natural healing abilities, reducing inflammation, and promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Is Acupuncture Safe and Does it Hurt?
Most patients find that the treatments are relaxing and cause minimal discomfort. People with pacemakers should avoid electrical stimulation unless approved by their cardiologist. Women in early pregnancy and hemophiliacs should be treated with caution.
Acupuncture does not cause any significant discomfort in the majority of patients. The needles are very fine and do not damage the tissues when inserted. People experience differing sensations with acupuncture. Most patients feel only minimal discomfort as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there should be no significant discomfort. For many people, acupuncture is a pleasant experience due to the sense of well-being that usually follows the treatment.
How many treatments will be required?
The number of treatments will vary with every individual and the condition being treated. For acute problems, only a few treatments may be required. For complex or longstanding conditions, one to three treatments a week for several weeks may be recommended with less frequent treatment as improvement occurs. Treatment sessions usually last between 15 and 30 minutes. Relief may be immediate or occur within a few hours, or after a few days. In some conditions, several sessions may be required before improvement is noticed.
Acupuncture can be used as the only form of therapy or it may be combined successfully with other forms of medical or chiropractic care.
Is there any special advice to follow before or after an acupuncture treatment?
Patients are advised not to eat unusually large meals before or after treatments. It is best to avoid alcohol or sedatives for four hours prior to treatment. Pain medications may be taken as required.
If possible, a short rest after treatment is desirable, but not essential. Some patients feel unusually relaxed and prefer to plan activities accordingly. Strong exercise is not recommended immediately after treatment.
For painful conditions, avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours after treatment. Alcohol, and ideally caffeine and cigarettes, should be avoided for at least two hours before or after treatments. Medications, as directed by your physician, may be taken as required.
If you would like to find out if Acupuncture is right for your condition, Call the Clinic Now
CAUTION: The above is only a guide and should not be used as a substitute for being evaluated by a regulated health care professional that has experience in managing whiplash associated disorders. If you have any questions about your condition, please feel free to contact me at your convenience. If you feel that this is a medical emergency, please visit your closest hospital emergency department.