What is medical acupuncture?

Medical acupuncture is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture that uses anatomy, physiology and pathology as the guiding principles of diagnosis and treatment.  The treatment involves the insertion of fine, solid needles at specific points in the body that may be stimulated with electricity for therapeutic purposes.  Recent studies have indicated that medical acupuncture can increase nutritive blood flow to an area, regulate muscle tension, attenuate inflammation, and help to provide natural pain relief through stimulation of the nervous system.  Medical acupuncture is performed by healthcare professionals such as physicians, chiropractors, and physiotherapists.

Should I consider medical acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been indicated as a safe and effective treatment for a variety of health concerns based on recent scientific research.  Studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in the treatment of the following musculoskeletal and neurological disorders:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Common sports injuries
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Sciatica
  • Post-operative pain
  • “Tennis elbow”
  • Osteoarthritis

Other musculoskeletal conditions commonly treated with acupuncture include tendinosis, rotator cuff injuries, hip pain, ankle/foot or arch pain, and repetitive stress injuries.  Medical acupuncture may be used as the primary method of treatment along side an active care routine, or as an adjunct therapy to other conventional medical care.

The goals of acupuncture treatments are:

  • To alleviate pain naturally
  • To promote and support injury healing
  • To speed up recovery time
  • To restore functional movement
  • To reestablish normal muscle tone and nerve function

What can I expect with treatment?

The acupuncture treatment itself typically lasts about 20-30 minutes and the number of needles used in a treatment will vary according to the individual, duration of pain, and the condition being treated.  Patients often notice an improvement after just the first treatment. The recommendation for number of treatments and frequency depends on the patient and his or her goals.

Individuals have different and unique responses to acupuncture. Most patients experience minimal discomfort with the insertion of needles – some report feeling a slight pinch and others find it imperceptible.  Once the needles are in place, there should be no significant discomfort.  Many patients find acupuncture an overall relaxing experience that decreases pain and promotes a feeling of wellbeing.