Acupuncture is a form of treatment originally developed thousands of years ago that involves inserting fine needles into the body to create a therapeutic response or change in the body. These thin needles used in the practice of acupuncture are single use, disposable, sterilized needles.
The response to “what is acupuncture?” can be answered in several ways, depending on your philosophy. The basic western medical definition of acupuncture is a therapeutic form of treatment that consists of inserting fine sterilized needles into specific areas of the body to stimulate the nervous system for creating change or restoring homeostasis. The western philosophy, although it tends to be more focused on musculo-skeletal problems, pain and dysfunction, there is the belief that acupuncture is stimulating the nerves and can have an effect on all parts of the body served by the nervous system. Treatment is based on modern knowledge of anatomy, physiology, neurology and evidence based medicine. Through traditional acupuncture points or other points of neurological relevance can have wide ranging benefits for many conditions. Acupuncture has been shown to have a direct effect on neural communication both centrally and peripherally, neuro-chemical release such as peptides and serotonin, hormones, stimulation of the autonomic nervous system stimulating changes in blood flow (perfusion) and swelling/edema.
What is traditional acupuncture? Traditional acupuncture is usually practiced as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine based on a treatment system developed thousands of years ago that balances the flow of energy or life force known as Qi (chee) into specific acupuncture points. Qi flows through 12 main channels called meridians (6 Yin and 6 Yang meridians) and 8 extraordinary meridians. Dysfunction in the body is caused by a disruption or blockage in the flow of Qi where the insertion of sterilized needles restores balance and brings the harmony back to the yin and yang.
Both forms of acupuncture are very effective in treating dysfunction within the body and many treatment plans are similar, just a different philosophy. One is not necessarily better than the other, just two different ways to look at a treatment modality.
Now, what are the effect of acupuncture on many conditions are becoming more well known and developing into a more mainstream choice of treatment. The World Health Organization has also agreed on the efficacy of acupuncture and the associated health benefits. As acupuncture grows in popularity, it is being seen less included in alternative therapies and more of a mainstream form of treatment. The wide range of conditions treated with acupuncture is a long list and include low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, chronic pain, sleep disturbances, headaches and migraines, restless leg syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, arthritis pain both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, general pain relief, women’s health and men’s health issues, musculo-skeletal problems, addiction treatment and mental health. Even stroke rehabilitation, breast cancer, erectile dysfunction and immune system treatments are showing promising results.
Most people receiving acupuncture, either as a complementary therapy to a health care professional or another modality like Traditional Chinese Medicine or as a therapy on its own, are very happy with the results. The popularity is growing especially in situations where traditional medicine has not worked. This efficacy of acupuncture has caused the Western medical community to begin researching acupuncture more and more over the last 10 years. The benefits of acupuncture will continue to be proven as that research continues to shed light on the efficacy of acupuncture.
We have been providing treatment to Regina and the Regina area for the last 24 years. If you have any questions on what acupuncture is all about, what all acupuncture can be beneficial for and how acupuncture treatments can help you and your condition, please call the office at 306-525-0007.