At Motion Works Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre, we use acupuncture as a therapeutic treatment for alleviating pain, encouraging healing and improving chronic conditions when performed along with other treatments and therapies. Here, our Stittsville physiotherapists explain what acupuncture is and how it works.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medicinal practice that is very old: originating in China about 2500 years ago. Acupuncture is the piercing of a patient's skin with very small, thin and sterile needles at a selection of up to 350 designated points on their body depending on the kind of condition a patient is experiencing and the affected area.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
According to traditional understandings of the practice, acupuncture balances the flor of chi (traditionally spelled qi), through a patient's body by guiding the flow of this vital energy along the pathways and meridians of their body.
In more modern terms, studies have shown that acupuncture targets areas of the body where connective tissues, nerves and other tissues converge. By placing small, sterile and painless single-use needles into these points, your body's natural painkillers and healing processes are triggered and encouraged. This will not only relax you and help to alleviate your pain, but can also aid in the healing process of some tissues.
Acupuncture must be conducted by a certified practitioner who can both identify the proper areas to place each needle and safely provide the actual treatment. At our Nepean physiotherapy clinic, several of our physical therapists are certified by Acupuncture Canada to provide their specialized therapy, as it is permitted within the scope of physiotherapy.
What Conditions Can Acupuncture Treat?
There are a number of conditions and kinds of pain that acupuncture has been proven to both treat and alleviate. These can include:
- low back pain
- neck pain
- dental pain
- painful periods
- headache and migraine
- knee pain
- difficulties related to Fibromyalgia
- facial pain & trigeminal neuralgia
- rheumatoid arthritis
- tennis elbow
There are also a number of conditions that acupuncture may help to treat but are outside the scope of physiotherapy (sinus infections, substance addiction, weight loss, etc.) and as such you should consult a traditional Chinese acupuncturist.
What Will My Acupuncture Treatment Look Like?
At our Stittsville physiotherapy center, our staff will often be able to provide acupuncture in addition to other treatments like prescribed exercises, nutritional consultations and massage therapy.
At your acupuncture appointment, you will lay down on your back, front or side depending on the area your acupuncture treatment will be administered. We will then take thin, sterile and single-use needles and insert them into the specific points of your body we have determined are most likely to help your condition.
When acupuncture needles are inserted into your body, you may feel a brief stinging or a dull ache at the base of the needle, but that generally subsides. The warmth and ache are believed to be the achievement of the qi sensation. We will leave the needles in for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes depending on your needs, and may return to stimulate the needles during the treatment time.
After treatment, some clients report feeling a bit sore or "off" while others feel energized and relaxed. Both are normal reactions and signs that the acupuncture treatment is indeed taking effect in your body.
The number of treatments we recommend will depend on your body, your condition and your needs.
Are There Reasons I Shouldn't Recieve Acupuncture?
While acupuncture can be an excellent treatment for chronic or acute pain, it absolutely isn't for everyone. In fact, for some individuals, acupuncture may present more risks than benefits.
For example, if you are suffering from a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners, acupuncture may not be the right treatment for you. Certain points may not be used while pregnant.
Our physiotherapists will be able to explain in detail when acupuncture is and isn't appropriate as a treatment option for you and your condition before starting any course of treatment.