Acupuncture is a standard therapy practice used around the world. But despite its commonality, many people are still hesitant to receive acupuncture therapy— who could blame them? There’s nothing ordinary about having little pins pressed into your body. But before you dismiss acupuncture, we recommend you continue reading to learn all about acupuncture. Below, we’ll discuss what acupuncture is, how it works, what it’s used to treat and some benefits of acupuncture over other methods of therapy. By the end of the article, we can almost guarantee you’ll have a new-found respect for this restorative therapy treatment.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture was developed in China over one thousand years ago. And simply put, it’s a therapy method that uses small pins or needles to stimulate specific areas of the body and treat pain and other health conditions. Unlike other treatment methods that rely on muscles and other aspects of your body, acupuncture relies on the many energy pathways believed to flow throughout your body. And because of this unique difference, acupuncture can be used on any area of the body where pain or discomfort is present. If the thought of pins and needles being pressed into your body sounds like it would cause more pain than it relieves, continue reading below to learn what to expect when receiving acupuncture treatment.
What to Expect
When undergoing acupuncture treatment, your acupuncturist will begin by assessing your body. Once they’ve determined the points of interest, they’ll ask you to lay on your back, front or side depending on where they plan to insert the needles. Your acupuncturist will insert each needle one by one and you can expect to feel a brief sting or tingling sensation as each needle is inserted. After the needle is inserted, you’ll feel a slight ache which will quickly go away.
In some cases, your acupuncturist may choose to stimulate the needles with electricity or heat them before insertion to achieve a deeper relief— but don’t worry, acupuncture is relatively painless.
How it Works
Today’s acupuncture treatments are based around the Traditional Chinese Medicine belief that Qi (pronounced chee) flows continuously throughout the body through paths called meridians. If a meridian becomes blocked, a person’s Qi can no longer flow freely throughout their body, resulting in pain or discomfort. This is where acupuncture comes in. As these paths become blocked, acupuncture can be used to stimulate these areas and restore circulation— eliminating the pain and discomfort.
Although numerous advancements in acupuncture have been made since its development some one thousand years ago, modern-day acupuncture treatments still work similarly.
Today’s acupuncture treatments help to:
- Release pain-relieving endorphins found in the nervous system and brain
- Clear areas in the body with poor circulation
- Influence electrical currents in the body
- Release neurotransmitters (substances that transmit nerve impulses to the brain
- Stimulate the flow of blood
- Influence the autonomic nervous system
What is Acupuncture Used to Treat?
Since its development, acupuncture has been used to treat many different health conditions. And while breakthroughs are continually being made, we have found acupuncture to be successful in treating/aiding patients with the following conditions.
- Migraines and Headaches
- Chronic pain
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Meniere’s Disease
- Lower back pain
- Tennis Elbow
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Aside from these conditions, acupuncture can also be used to:
- Aid weight loss
- Provide relief from menstrual cramps
- Relieve pain from minor injuries, strains and sprains
Benefits of Acupuncture Over Other Treatment Methods
When compared to other commonly used therapy treatments, acupuncture offers patients many unique benefits. For starters, because acupuncture doesn’t rely on any medications or supplements, there are little to no side effects. It’s also an excellent alternative for patients who can’t take pain medication. But its benefits don’t stop there. Acupuncture can also be safely combined with other treatment methods and because it’s non-invasive, it can be used on patients of all ages— whereas other therapy methods are sometimes limited by mobility, age, etc.
Although we are strong supporters of acupuncture and its benefits, we would like to remind you that acupuncture is not an alternative to conventional health care— it should be used alongside traditional health care offerings (when possible) and should only be used when recommended by a health care professional.
We hope this article has settled your mind when it comes to acupuncture. At Absolute Rehab Centre, it is our goal to ensure every patient feels comfortable and receives the best treatment for their condition. In some cases, this will be acupuncture, but we hope that you now have a new-found understanding of the treatment and its benefits. We understand that some patients may still be hesitant to try acupuncture, so we encourage you to reach out to us by phone or email if you have any questions. You are also welcome to stop into our Waterloo office to discuss acupuncture in person.