What is Acupuncture…
Is acupuncture safe?
One of the most striking aspects of the treatment is the almost complete absence of adverse effects and complications from its use. Most patients find that the treatments are relaxing and cause minimal discomfort. Acupuncture is a safe technique, provided that practitioners are properly trained and follow appropriate techniques. Registered Acupuncturists use single-use, sterile disposable needles and have been trained regarding precautions and contraindications to acupuncture. The York Acupuncture Safety Study, a prospective study of 34407 acupuncture treatments found no serious adverse effects and only 43 cases of minor adverse effects, the most common of which were nausea and fainting.
It is important to inform the practitioner of your medical history, medications and if you are pregnant or could possibly be pregnant, as treatment may have to be modified or may not be appropriate.
How does acupuncture work?
It is the stimulation by the insertion of needles into specific points on the body which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions. Several theories have been presented as to exactly how it works. One theory suggests that pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or brain at various “gates” to these areas. Since a majority of acupuncture points are either connected to (or are located near) neural structures, this suggests that the treatment stimulates the nervous system.
Another theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce narcotic-like substances called endorphins, which reduce pain. Other studies have found that other pain-relieving substances may be released into the body during treatment.
It has also been shown to affect the functioning of the hormonal system, promoting a decrease in inflammation, increased circulation and relief from pain.
How many sessions will I need?
Many people start to see a significant difference within one to two treatments but some take longer to respond depending on the condition being treated. If no difference is felt by the end of the fifth or sixth treatment, the diagnosis of the condition should be reconsidered and further medical investigations may be needed.
Acute injuries are treated as soon as possible and often daily at first. Chronic conditions may need repeat treatments to maintain the momentum after an initial period of frequent treatments. Post treatment exercise and discipline in diet is extremely important for continued improvement and recovery.
Generally treatments every second day (Mon, Wed and Fri) would be considered frequent treatment. Maintenance treatments could range from weekly to monthly or when symptoms begin to recur.
Is acupuncture painful? What does it feel like?
This is a very comfortable treatment. The needles are very fine, metallic and as thin as a hair, making them quite painless upon insertion. Everyone experiences acupuncture differently, but most feel no pain or very minimal pain as the needles are inserted. You may experience a mild aching sensation or warmth around the needle site.
What can I expect from my first visit?
Besides questions specifically about the condition that brought you into the clinic, the practitioner may take a much broader health history. This may include questions in regard to your digestion, sleep, and stress levels as well as physical testing to determine which mode of treatment will best benefit your illness or injury.
What activities should I avoid following treatment?
Strenuous physical activities (including exercise) should be avoided for at least two hours after treatment.
A good feeling after acupuncture should not be mistaken for full recovery. Be sure that you have regained your strength and stamina before engaging in any activities that you were unable to perform before your acupuncture treatments.
Is there anything I should do prior to my treatment?
Try to arrive rested and relaxed for your treatment. Whenever possible it is best to avoid arriving hungry and avoid consuming caffeine or nicotine for 90 minutes before and after your treatments. All prescribed medication should be taken as per your normal schedule.
What are the most common conditions that can be treated?
Injury from sport/Accidents
Inflammatory bowel disease
Menopausal Hot Flashes