What does Acupuncture do?

Acupuncture has been used as a component of traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years. It involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at specific locations throughout the body. In more recent years, the scientific and medical communities in Europe and North America have begun to study acupuncture in order to better understand how it works. It has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins – the body’s own pain relieving chemicals. In addition, acupuncture also helps to reduce inflammation, aids in tissue healing, and promotes overall well-being. All of these therapeutic effects can make acupuncture a valuable addition to your treatment plan.

Is it the right treatment for me?

Acupuncture can effectively treat a variety of painful conditions, such as neck and back pain, tendonitis, sciatica, headaches, and arthritis. It is important that your condition is properly assessed before a decision can be made as to whether acupuncture is appropriate for you. Once the diagnosis is made, your practitioner can advise as to whether or not acupuncture would be an appropriate addition to your physiotherapy treatment plan. In most cases, acupuncture will be used in addition to other forms of physiotherapy treatment such as manual therapy and exercise.

Are there any risks?

There are very few adverse effects from present-day acupuncture treatment. Only sterile single-use needles will be used and most patients usually find that the discomfort from the treatment it is very minimal. The acupuncture needles are much more comfortable than the typical injection-type needles most of us have experienced.

What should I expect during an acupuncture treatment session?

Your practitioner will determine the best acupuncture points to use for your condition. The points may be in the same area(s) as your pain or they may be in a completely different area of the body. Acupuncture points run along channels or “meridians” in the body. Sometimes including an acupuncture point away from the area of the pain but along the same channel can be even more effective than using local points. This concept also allows more flexibility in how we can use acupuncture for different conditions and individuals.

How many acupuncture treatments do people usually need?

The frequency and length of treatment will vary depending on the type of condition. Typically, for an acute injury the treatment can be more frequent, but may only require a few treatments overall. For more complex or long-term issues, one to two treatments a week for several weeks may be recommended. Again, having a thorough assessment is always recommended in order to best determine a treatment plan that’s best for you!

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