What is Acupuncture?acupuncture

Acupuncture is the art and science of inserting very fine needles into special points on the body to relieve or pain or for a therapeutic purpose.  These points have been identified over the two thousand year history of traditional Chinese Medicine and have recently been confirmed through western science studies involving electromagnetic research.  These points have been proven to have an effect on a variety of health problems in the body.

The World Health Organization’s Department of Essential Drugs and Medicine Policy published a report on acupuncture that listed a series of diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been demonstrated as an effective treatment.  These include:

Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Toothaches, pain after tooth extraction, earaches, sinus inflammation, nasal inflammation or dryness.

See Conditions: Cold and Flu, Allergies and Hay Fever

Respiratory Disorders

Uncomplicated bronchial asthma in children or adults.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Digestive tract problems, hiccups, inflammation of the stomach, chronic duodenal ulcers, inflammation of the colon, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery caused by certain bacteria.

See conditions: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Eye Disorders

Inflammation of the conjunctiva, inflammation of the central retina, nearsightedness (in children), and uncomplicated cataracts.

Nervous System and Muscular Disorders

Headaches, migraines, certain facial paralysis or nerve pain, partial weakness after a stroke, inflammation of nerve endings, bed wetting, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica, low back pain, and osteoarthritis.

See conditions: Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, Lower Back Pain, Migraines, TMJ

The World Health Organization also recognizes acupuncture in the treatment of:

* Acute bacillary dysentery
* Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
* Allergic rhinitis
* Biliary colic
* Depression
* Essential hypertension
* Headache
* Induction of childbirth and correction of the malposition of fetus
* Inflammation of the tissues surrounding the shoulder
* Leukopenia
* Nausea and vomiting including morning sickness
* Pain in the epigastrium, face, neck, tennis elbow, lower back, knee, during dentistry and after operations
* Primary dysmenorrhea
* Primary hypotension
* Renal colic
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Sciatica
* Sprains

Does it hurt?

When a practitioner stimulates the needle the patient can feel some tingling, cramping or an electric sensation either around the needle or traveling up or down the affected meridian, or energy pathway. Some people can experience these feelings as mild discomfort or pain but most people do not mind the sensation.  Practitioners can use finer needles or use acupressure if you find the sensation unpleasant.

Are the needles clean?

The needles are sterilized, individually packaged and disposable.  There is no possibility of contracting any communicable disease from proper needle usage.

How does acupuncture work?

Modem Western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is Deficient and away from where it is Excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body.

Are there different styles of acupuncture?

Yes, there are. Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, the British Isles, and America. [n different countries, different styles have developed based on differing opinions as totheory and technique. Patients should talk to their practitioners about their particular style and learn as much as possible about the treatment being proposed.

What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?

Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.
Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated health care profession in many provinces in Canada. Ask your practitioner if they have a provincial license to practice. If your province does not require licensing patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by any National organizations and whether they have graduated from an accredited school.  Acupuncturists who have passed this exam are entitled to add R.Ac. after their name in British Columbia.

How many treatments will I need?

That depends upon the duration, severity, and nature of your complaint. You may need only a single treatment for an acute condition. A series of five to fifteen reatments may resolve many chronic problems. Some degenerative conditions may require many treatments over time.

What should I know a bout the proposed treatments?

Your practitioner will explain the nature of your problem and what treatment he or she is recommending. Your practitioner will tell you what benefits and risks there are to the proposed treatment, what other treatment options are available to you through this practitioner or by referral to another practitioner or physician.