Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points shown as effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of two thousand years. Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed their locations.
The World Health Organization has said that acupuncture is suitable for treating the following:
Acupuncture has been used for centuries in China to treat many other problems, such as knee pain, sprains and strains, and most gynecological complaints.
That depends upon the nature of the problem, the location of the points selected, the patient’s size, age, and constitution, and upon the acupuncturist’s style or school they came from. Usually, needles are inserted from ¼ to 1 inch in depth.
If your practitioner has obtained the correct stimulus of the needle, the patient should feel some cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling, or electric sensation either around the needle or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway. In Chinese, acupuncture is bu tong, painless. Some Western cultures may categorize these sensations as types of pain. In any case, if you experience any discomfort, it is usually mild.
The best practice among acupuncturists in Canada today is to use sterilized, individually packaged, disposable needles. Needles should not be saved and reused for later treatments. This eliminates the possibility of transmitting a communicable disease by a contaminated needle.
Modern Western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where Qi is Deficient and away from where it is Excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chinese there is a saying, “There is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow”.
Yes, there are. Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, the British Isles, and America. In different countries, different styles have developed based on differing opinions as to theory and technique. Patients should talk to their practitioner about their particular style and learn as much as possible about the treatment being proposed.
Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.
Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession in Canada. Ask your practitioner if your province requires a license to practice. In provinces that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists. Acupuncturists who have passed this exam are entitled to add Dipl. Ac. (Diplomate of Acupuncture) after their name.
That depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment of an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen treatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time.
Your practitioner will explain the nature of your problem and what treatment he or she is recommending. Your practitioner will tell you what benefits and risks there are to the proposed treatments, what other treatment options are available to you through this practitioner or by referral to another practitioner or physician.
If you agree to go ahead with the treatment, your practitioner will tell you what progress to expect, what to do if you don’t experience that progress and what to do if you feel worse.
Yes, the following suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits from your treatment.
You may note a spot of blood at one or more of the needles sites and/or a small bruise could develop. These should not be harmful, but please talk to your practitioner if you are concerned.
Patients often experience the most dramatic results in the first treatment. Some patients experience an immediate total or partial relief of their pain or other symptoms. This relief may last or some pain may return. In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days. Generally, you should expect to feel better.
Most patients will have more questions than this brochure can answer. Your practitioner is used to answering questions such as:
You should discuss all of your questions in person with your practitioner.