- What is acupuncture?
- How does acupuncture work exactly?
- What conditions can acupuncture treat?
- Is acupuncture painful?
- How long does an acupuncture session last?
- What to expect during and after an acupuncture session?
- How many sessions are needed?
- Is Acupuncture Safe for Children and Pregnant women?
- Prepare for the acupuncture session.
- How to choose an acupuncturist?
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient medical treatment that involves inserting the fine needles into different points of the body in order to achieve certain therapeutic effects such as increasing circulation, regulating the autonomic nervous system and reducing the pain.
Licenced acupuncturists will carefully assess patient’s individual situations and choose the best treatment plan and options to combine other Chinese medicine modalities: herbal medicine, cupping, moxibustion, manual therapy etc,
How does acupuncture work exactly?
There are many theories that have been developed to explain the mechanism of acupuncture.
One theory that Traditional Chinese medicine uses to explain acupuncture as a therapy for balancing the flow of energy or life force. Acupuncture points are located along the energetic pathways (meridians) in the body. By inserting needles into specific points, it is believed that the energy flow will restore and maintain the state of health – Homeostasis.
Some also suggest acupuncture can alter the blood flow to certain areas, it can trigger the body to release certain hormones and neurotransmitters to reduce the pain and modulate the nervous system.
In recent years, numerous clinical studies have been conducted in the efforts to understand how acupuncture works.
Interestingly, this paper suggests acupuncture may have an up-regulating action to the expression of glutamate transporter-1, NR 2 A, cannabinoid receptor (CBR) type 1 and 2. The latter suggests acupuncture may act in a similar manner as cannabis in the body to reduce pain and inflammation.
However, science has not yet fully understood the complexity of the body’s response to acupuncture However, not fully understanding the mechanism does not stop it from working. We did not fully understand the mechanism of aspirin, first synthesised in 1897 by Felix Hoffmann, up until 1980s.
What conditions can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture is used mainly to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, including but not limited to:
- Temporomandibular Joint disorder/Jaw pain/TMJ
- Headaches, including tension headaches and migraines
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting
- Digestive disorders
- Hormonal imbalance
- Infertility and IVF support
- Respiratory disorders, such as allergic rhinitis
- Anxiety and depression
Is acupuncture painful?
The general answer is NO but not definitively. In general, acupuncture should not be painful, However, there are certain points that are more sensitive than others, and there are certain people who are more sensitive to needles than others, even the same person, there are times that the body is more sensitive than other times. In any case, if there is discomfort, usually it will not last more than a few seconds.
Dalu practices gentle acupuncture technique, which means the pain is not an indicator for therapeutic outcome as opposed to some acupuncture school of thoughts. For patients who are sensitive to needles or children, Dalu will use alternative Chinese medicine treatment with no needles involved, such as acupoints therapy, herbal medicine, alternative modalities such as acupoint therapy, cupping therapy or herbal medicine that also work on the meridian and organs based on Chinese medicine principles.
How long does an acupuncture session last?
The initial treatment usually lasts for 60 minutes, including health history intake, TCM assessment and treatment, Subsequent appointments usually take about 30-45 minutes.
What to expect during and after a acupuncture session?
During the procedure
Acupuncture points are situated in all areas of the body. Very often the appropriate points are far from the area of your pain. Your acupuncturist will tell you the general site of the planned treatment and whether you need to remove any clothing. A gown, towel or sheet will be provided. You lie on a padded table for the treatment, which involves:
Needle insertion – Acupuncture needles are inserted to various depths at strategic points on your The needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes little discomfort. People often don’t feel them inserted at all. Between a few and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. You may feel a mild aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth.
Manual therapy and Cupping – Depending on the nature of the condition, your acupuncturist will also perform manual therapy and/or cupping therapy.
After the procedure
Some people feel relaxed and others feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. Your condition may begin to improve after the very first session. But not everyone responds to acupuncture the same. If your symptoms don’t begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not be right for you.
How many sessions are needed?
A typical treatment plan for ongoing conditions would involve one to three sessions a week. For maintenance of general well being, usually 1 to 2 visits per month are recommended. The number of treatments will depend on the condition being treated and its severity. In general, it’s common to receive 6 to 12 sessions as a course of treatment.
Is Acupuncture Safe for Children and Pregnant women?
Acupuncture is relatively safe for children and pregnancy with experienced acupuncturists. I often treat children and pregnant women with acupuncture.
For patients who do not want to have needles but still need the benefits of acupuncture, there is an alternative therapy that I provide. Please read the page “Meridian Therapy” for details.
Prepare for the acupuncture session.
Please refer to the page \“First Visit\” for how to prepare for the acupuncture visit.
How to choose an acupuncturist?
If you’re considering acupuncture, take the same steps you would to choose a doctor:
- Ask people you trust for
- Check the practitioner’s training and credentials.
- Interview the acupuncturist and Ask what’s involved in the treatment, how likely it is to help your condition and how much it will cost.
- Find out whether your insurance covers the treatment.
In Canada, Acupuncture treatment is covered by most insurance companies in their paramedical plans.