What is Acupuncture? How does it work? Acupuncture is one of the most widely used therapies in the world. It's a powerful tool to promote health and generate more self-awareness. It's a safe and effective treatment for many illnesses.
In Chinese medicine, health is seen as having the right balance of life force called Qi (pronounced "chee"). Ideally, Qi flows smoothly and evenly throughout the body nourishing each cell, organ and tissue. When Qi becomes stuck or depleted, pain and illness can result. Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into key points on the body along our energy pathways to move, restore, nourish and balance Qi.
What is Acupuncture used for? The list of diseases and conditions for which Acupuncture would be an appropriate treatment is extensive. Acupuncture is a complete medical system in itself, and is also an excellent compliment to almost any other treatment.
Boost immunity and energy level, allergies, prevention and recovery from colds and flus, chronic infections, sinusitis, fatique, low vitality
Manage the side offects of drugs and medication,alcohol, food, and tobacco addiction
Chronic conditions such as: respiratory problems, digestive problems, circulatory disorders, nervous system disorders`
Acupuncture also reduces stress and anxiety, and helps patients enter a deep state of relaxation, which enhances the healing process. Herbal medicine can increase the effectiveness of your acupuncture treatment and is often the primary treatment for chronic internal medical disorder.
I know Acupuncture involves needles. Does it hurt? People tend to experience acupuncture differently. Generally speaking, Acupuncture should not be painful. When your practitioner inserts a needle, he looks for signs that Qi has arrived by any one of a number of signs. You may feel a dull ache, perhaps a feeling of electricity or tingling, a sensation of heat or cold, or it may just feel strange. Sometimes you can feel Qi running up or down the body or a limb. It is important that the sensation of Qi be felt. Occasionally you may like you've been stung by a bee. This can be somewhat uncomfortable, but should pass almost immediately. If it doesn't, tell your practitioner right away so he can adjust or remove the needle. Occasionally you may feel a throbbing ache, which may also be somewhat uncomfortable, especially if you are being treated for a chronic condition. At no time, though, should you have any sensation that is beyond your tolerance level. If you do, let your practitioner know right away. The fact is that the vast majority of clients report that, after a while, they begin to feel a real sense of well-being, almost euphoria.
Besides needles, what are other treatment options? While needle treatment is traditional, other effective means of bringing about the desired physiological response include acupressure (finger pressure), blunt probes, pressure massage, electronic stimulation, laser, heat, cold, ultra sound, moxibustion, herbal therapy, to name a few.
What is acupressure? Acupressure consists of pressing the acupuncture points in an attempt to help the free flow of qi energy in the channel. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but the practitioner uses their fingers instead of needles to work the point.
What is moxibustion? Moxibustion is the burning on the skin of the herb moxa. The Chinese character 'Chiu' is used to describe the art of moxibustion, and literally means 'to scar with a burning object'. Moxibustion nowadays does not involve scarring, but moxa is still used to provide local heat over acupuncture points. It is made from the dried leaves of Artemisia vulgaris and the Chinese believe that the older the moxa, the better its therapeutic properties. Here at the Centre we use smokeless moxa sticks.
What is cupping? Cupping is a therapy in which a jar is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created by introducing heat in the form of an ignited material. It is used to move congestion and for chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, tight IT bands, etc.
Are there other specialized uses for acupuncture? Yes, auricular acupuncture is used for smoking detoxification and weight management. It is effective for curbing cravings, hastening detoxification from nicotine or carbohydrates and managing restlessness and irritability related to detoxification.
Additionally, acupuncture facial rejuvenation is used to increase collagen production, decrease bags under the eyes, sagging jowls and larger wrinkles. It also eliminates fine lines on the face, moisturizes the skin and improves facial circulation.
Is acupuncture safe? Yes. Acupuncture has no unpleasant side effects and does not interfere with any medical treatment you may already be receiving. Occasionally patients may get a small local bruise or feel light-headed for a few moments. The acupuncture itself is as gentle or strong as the patient needs. Highly sensitive patients only require a very light touch in order to get results.
The practitioner is well aware of the concern over infectious diseases, and takes every measure to insure cleanliness as all health care professional do. Our needles are sterile and disposable, they are never reused. Bleeding rarely occurs, unless done so on purpose in specific situations. Even then the amount is minimal and in no way dangerous.
What should I expect on my first visit? During your first office visit, we spend time talking to you to get a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. We examine the condition of your tongue. We look to see what color your tongue is, the type of coat on top of your tongue and any cracks or other features. We check your pulse on both wrists. The quality of your pulse and tongue gives us information about possible imbalances.
We’ll also ask questions about your emotional state and specific symptoms you may have. This is done because we treat the whole person instead of focusing on just the symptoms of your condition. The first visit will last 45 minutes, ending with an acupuncture treatment. Your subsequent visits will be much faster – usually an half an hour or less. We’ll make a short review of your progress followed by an acupuncture treatment. Sometimes other therapies, such as moxabustion, acupressure/massage and exercises are incorporated with the acupuncture treatment.
How often will I need to come in for treatment? Typically acupuncture treatments are given once a week. If your specific condition will respond best with less time between treatments, we may recommend 2-3 times per week until your condition starts to respond to the treatment. The exact duration of treatment depends on the condition, your basic level of health, and how well you respond to acupuncture. Usually 8-10 sessions constitute one treatment course, but symptoms of shorter duration often take fewer treatments.
It is critical to stick to consistent treatment frequencies to keep the body moving toward balance. When your body has reached a state of balance, you may require only occasional maintenance treatments to stay healthy, if any.
What should I expect after a treatment? The immediate experience after an acupuncture treatment varies from person to person. You may feel:
A decrease and change in pain
Euphoric and energized
Sleepy and relaxed
Let us know if you need a snack, some water or some down-time afterwards.
Reactions to acupuncture vary according to the health condition of each individual. You may experience subtle effects up to 48 hours after your treatment. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email us.
Is Acupuncture covered by OHIP or Extended Health Insurance? Acupuncture is not currently covered by OHIP, however, most extended health benefit plans cover a significant portion, if not all of a consultation/treatment fee. Check your benefits plan, or call your insurance provider for more information. Be sure to ask how much coverage you have, if there is a deductible per visit,if a Naturopathic Doctor can perform treatments if there is a limit per visit, and when your policy year ends.