All About Acupuncture

You’ve probably heard of it and maybe even considered trying it but if there’s something holding you back from taking the next step towards an acupuncture session, you’re not alone. Being poked with needles in various places on your body is not something most people get excited about….but you should. Here’s why.

Acupuncture was first developed in China over 2,000 years ago and has been in use in Western countries, on and off, for around 400 years. This is a pretty significant history considering conventional medicine practices have been the dominant medical model in the Western world for a little over 200 years.

Acupuncture is based on energy flow thru channels in the body called meridians. The emphasis is always on balance, as it’s thought that too much or too little energy in one area can lead to disfunction and ultimately disease.

Consider an acute injury – like a sprained ankle – there is a ton of inflammation that leads to swelling, heat, redness, pain. These are signs of excess “energy” in the ankle. During an acupuncture session for such an injury I would choose points to help eliminate heat and improve blood flow.

Acupuncture was developed long before the modern tools we have available to us now but the tesearch is catching up. Advanced imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRIs, oxygen micro sensors, and thermography have been used to identify distinct structural differences and higher oxygen pressures of acupuncture points compared to surrounding tissues. These findings indicate acupuncture points and acupuncture channels are scientifically measurable phenomena. Super cool.

And the science is expanding from there. Acupuncture has been proven to benefit a wide range of conditions including asthma, lymphedema, surgery, pain (1, 2, 3), headaches, fertility (1, 2), anxiety, depression, cancer care, and more.

If you’re still not convinced, here are answers to a few common questions:

Is acupuncture painful?

No. Some points can be sensitive and you may experience a tingling sensation or a slight, dull ache as the needle is being adjusted. The most common experience is one of very little sensation and an intense feeling of relaxation.

I’m receiving other treatments, can I still get acupuncture?

Absolutely. Acupuncture does not interfere with any medications or supplements and is an effective, valuable tool as part of an integrative wellness plan. It combines well with physiotherapy, chiropractic medicine, and massage therapy.

I have chronic pain. Will acupuncture help?

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for many types of pain – pain related to acute injuries, chronic pain, headaches, bowel pain, pain in any part of the body – are all good reasons to explore acupuncture.

How big are the needles and where will they be?

Acupuncture needles are quite fine (most common is 36 gauge) and can range from 1/4″ to 2-3″ long. Needle placement is determined based on your concerns but can be anywhere from head to toe. Multiple needles are used during one treatment. I usually insert 10-15 needles per treatment but it always depends on the person.

How many sessions will I need?

Each session lasts 30 minutes. During this time you are comfortably seated or lying on a table. The number of sessions depends on the severity of your concerns but I often recommend weekly sessions for 6-8 treatments. Acute injuries may benefit from more frequent visits but may not require as many sessions.

We offer traditional acupuncture sessions at The Pear Tree. Call or email for more information.


Published by melissablake.nd

Naturopathic Doctor

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