WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is a treatment technique from Traditional Chinese Medicine that involves the use of very thin needles to puncture certain areas of the human body. In the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are meridians throughout the body. These meridians are considered pathways for the flow of energy into which blood and Qi are circulated. Qi is considered a fundamental substance constituting the universe.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the needles will be inserted at specific acupuncture points that are located along the meridians of the human body. Since the Qi is thought to be flowing through the meridians, this will alter it, thus having a therapeutic effect. While these concepts are the foundation of an ancient practice, Western medicine has adopted a different theoretical approach to explaining its effectiveness.
Acupuncture dates back to traditional Chinese medicine
The practice of Chinese acupuncture goes back thousands of years. It was mentioned in the Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine) dating back to 2200 BC. Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine acupuncture work on the basis of balancing energy flow.
Acupuncture Therapy Today
The Western approach to acupuncture proposes mechanisms that are quite different from the Traditional Chinese Medicine theory. These mechanisms are primarily based on measurable changes in the human body in response to acupuncture. Inserting a needle into the body creates a cascade of biological effects. The body detects a foreign object causing microtrauma, which leads to increased blood flow to that area. The body also releases endogenous opioids (natural pain killers) in response to the injury, and some studies have even shown a local reduction in inflammation following acupuncture. It is thought that these mechanisms are what can lead to the widespread success of acupuncture in pain management.
Acupuncture is effective in the treatment of pain, sciatica, arthritis, headaches, and a wide variety of conditions mentioned below.
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
The body detects a foreign object (the acupuncture needle) causing microtrauma, which leads to increased blood flow to that area. The body also releases endogenous opioids (natural pain killers) in response to the microtrauma. Studies have shown a local reduction in inflammation following acupuncture. It is thought that these mechanisms are what can lead to the widespread success of acupuncture in pain management.
At Strive Physiotherapy & Performance, your entire treatment session is performed by an experienced physiotherapist as part of your combined, individualized treatment plan.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF ACUPUNCTURE?
There are a variety of acupuncture methods that can provide you with pain relief (and various other benefits):
- Acupuncture may reduce stress levels by lowering the stress hormone, reducing anxiety, and increasing the overall feeling of happiness.
- Acupuncture may provide relief for people struggling with chronic pain, swelling, and inflammation.
- Acupuncture may reduce the frequency of headaches, providing relief from migraines.
- Acupuncture may improve the immune system and enhance mental clarity.
- Acupuncture can treat repetitive stress injuries and may eliminate the need for surgery.
WHAT CAN ACUPUNCTURE THERAPY TREAT?
Acupuncture techniques are typically used to treat a wide range of common conditions and discomfort, including:
- Lower back pain
- Preventing chronic headaches and migraine
- Chronic neck pain
- Connective tissue problems
- Frequency of tension headaches
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Myofascial pain
- Menstrual Cramps
- Muscle pain or muscle tension
- Cancer-related pain
- Soft tissue problems
- Hot flashes associated with breast cancer
- Elective cesarean delivery
- Spinal cord conditions
- Neuropathic pain
- Limb pain
- Shoulder pain
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN ACUPUNCTURE SESSION?
At Strive, acupuncture is completed at the end of your physiotherapy treatment appointment, by your experienced physiotherapist. Acupuncture will only be administered after a thorough assessment of your pain or injury, so your physiotherapist can determine whether acupuncture is a good fit for you.
Your physiotherapist will discuss the potential risks, and rule out any contraindications. This can include pregnancy and bleeding disorders. Your therapist will then get a solution to clean the area prior to inserting single use, sterile needles. This process is not usually painful as the needles are very thin, but you may feel a slight pinch and/or a dull ache. When the needles are in, if you feel uncomfortable at any stage, you can ask your physiotherapist to adjust or remove a needle.
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACUPUNCTURE SESSION?
Take your time getting up and leaving the clinic to ensure you’re not dizzy or faint. Be sure to continue to drink lots of water and eat appropriately for the rest of the day! Finally, monitor your symptoms over the next few days to determine what kind of effect you’ve felt from the acupuncture.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE THERAPY HURT?
Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to promote the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Most people find the treatments relaxing and cause minimal discomfort. Acupuncture needles are very fine (as thin as hair), leading to a painless insertion into the skin.
Every person experiences acupuncture differently, but most feel no pain or very minimal pain. You may experience a feeling of warmth or mild aching sensation around the site of insertion.
IS ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT SAFE?
Acupuncture is safe and effective with few adverse effects and complications reported from its use. A prospective study of 34,407 treatments found no serious adverse effects and only 43 cases of mild adverse effects. Our practitioners use single-use, clean, sterile disposable needles that are never reused.
WHY CHOOSE STRIVE PHYSIOTHERAPY & PERFORMANCE?
Our team of skilled physiotherapists has helped thousands of people across the Kitchener & Waterloo region feel their best. We would love the opportunity to help you, too. At Strive Physiotherapy & Performance, acupuncture is performed by our physiotherapists as part of your combined, individualized treatment plan.
GIVE US A CALL FOR PAIN RELIEF TODAY!
Give our clinic a call today or book an initial consultation to discover how our evidence-based practice can change your life. We look forward to helping you achieve optimal health goals through our acupuncture services.
FAQs on Acupuncture
Acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular among Westerners looking for alternative healthcare options. A recent study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare found that acupuncture is effective for chronic pain management. However, there are some potential risks associated with acupuncture treatments.
The most common complaint about acupuncture is that it may cause slight discomfort during the procedure. This is due to the fact that practitioners use thin needles that do not penetrate deeply enough to cause tissue damage. In addition, many people experience mild bruising after the treatment.
As long as the practitioner uses sterile needles and follows proper sterilization procedures, the risk of side effects is pretty low.
If you are considering having acupuncture performed, make sure you discuss your medical history with your physiotherapist prior to the treatment. If you have any concerns, ask questions. You may want to consider scheduling a consultation appointment with a qualified physiotherapist.
Acupoints are small points located all over our body where we can feel pain when they are pressed. They are used for acupuncture treatments.
Ear acupuncture involves placing acupuncture needles into specific points around the ear.
Acupuncture is used mainly to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, including:
- Chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting
- Dental pain
- Fibromyalgia Headaches, including tension headaches and migraines
- Labor pain
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Respiratory disorders, such as allergic rhinitis
- Tennis elbow
Common side effects include soreness and minor bleeding or bruising where the needles were inserted.
Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture; always talk with a physiotherapist before beginning the treatment.
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain and increase blood flow to areas affected by chronic pain. The mechanism behind this effect may be related to stimulation of adenosine A1 receptor sites.
Acupuncture is a slightly invasive procedure commonly used to relieve pain.
The length of the needle further varies and may range from 13 mm to 130 mm.
Intramuscular Stimulation, or dry needling, is a type of acupuncture where tiny needles are inserted into very tight areas of muscle.
Today, most experts agree that acupuncture likely helps stimulate the release of endorphins and other chemicals, reducing pain and encouraging healing.
Acupuncture can be a great addition to your treatment plan to help alleviate some of your pain, as well as help your body heal.
The body has natural pain killers that are believed to be activated when acupuncture is performed by the release of endorphins. These endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers that help reduce the amount of pain felt during an acupuncture session.