Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with very fine sterile, disposable needles which are then activated through gentle and specific movements.
Acupuncture is part of the ancient practice of Traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe the human body has more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by pathways or meridians. These pathways create an energy flow (Qi, pronounced "chee") through the body that is responsible for overall health. Disruption of the energy flow can cause disease. By applying acupuncture to certain points, it is thought to improve the flow of Qi, creating balance within the different organ systems and pathways, thereby improving health.
Studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for a variety of conditions. If you choose to see an acupuncturist, find a practitioner who is licensed as a Registered Acupuncturist with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario. Ensuring that they have proper training, credentials and experience.
Acupuncture is done using very thin, specially designed needles. Most people report feeling minimal discomfort as the needle is inserted, similar to a tap or small pinch. Some people feel no discomfort or sensation at all. The needle is inserted to a point that produces a sensation of pressure or ache. Once the needles are in place, there should be no significant discomfort. Needles may be gently warmed during the treatment or mild electric current may be applied to them. Some people report acupuncture makes them feel energized. Others say they feel relaxed.
Instead of needles, other forms of stimulation are sometimes used over the acupuncture points, including:
Heat (moxibustion), Pressure (acupressure & or Tuina), Friction or sweeping (Gua Sha), Suction (cupping)
Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. Acupuncture works to allow the body to heal itself without harmful side effects of pain medications. Acupuncture stimulates blood circulation to the injured area as well as relaxes the muscles and tissues. With improved circulation, blood and nutrients flow freely to the muscles to repair the tissues, decrease inflammation and promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Many seek acupuncture treatment for relief of chronic pain, such as arthritis or low back pain. Acupuncture, however, has expanded uses in other parts of the world. Conditions that may benefit from acupuncture include the following: